Hormesis, the beneficial effect of a mild stress, has been proposed as a means to prolong the period of healthy ageing as it can increase the average lifespan of a cohort. However, if we want to use hormesis therapeutically it is important that the treatment is beneficial on the individual level and not just on average at the population level. Long lived lines have been shown not to benefit from a, in other lines, hormesis inducing heat treatment in Drosophila melanogaster, D. buzzatii and mice. Also in many experiments hormesis has been reported to occur in one sex only, usually males but not in females. Here we investigated the interaction between the hormetic response and genetic background, sex and duration of a mild heat stress in D. melanogaster, using three replicate lines that have been selected for increased longevity and their respective control lines. We found that genetic background influences the position of the hormetic zone. The implication of this result could be that in a genetically diverse populations a treatment that is life prolonging in one individual could be life shortening in other individuals. However, we did find a hormetic response in all combinations of line and sex in at least one of the experiments which suggests that if it is possible to identify the optimal hormetic dose individually hormesis might become a therapeutic treatment.