Almost everyone hates bugs, particularly the kinds that are unsightly, and contribute nothing to the ecosystem. While maggots have their purpose, you don’t want to see them in or outside your home. Most people don’t know that maggots are the larvae form of flies. There is also one type of maggot fly that more commonly resides in carcasses, but will also take up residence in other types of food debris as well. This means that you can potentially have a maggot infestation in nearly any portion of your home. For the squeamish, they’ll want to eradicate them quickly, before they turn into flies and cause an even worse situation.
What is a Maggot?
Basically, a maggot is the larvae of a fly. It can be anywhere from two to three millimetres in length, depending on the type of fly it came from. This is also around the size that you’ll really begin to notice them.
One type of fly that lives on decayed matter and hatches into maggots is from the Calliphoridae family, but there are others such as fruit flies and plant flies which will also cause maggot infestations. Maggots can even live in human flesh, which can become a health concern. There are also certain types of maggots used to eat away dead flesh from the skin, but leave the living tissue alone.
Where do Maggots come from?
Maggot flies undergo six different stages of life: the egg, three larval stages, pupae, and adult fly. It begins by laying eggs in an attractive region. It may be in rotting garbage, a plant, or in the soil of your vegetable garden. It will also be in a spot where the fly thinks that their babies will be safe. The key here is that they lay their eggs in a spot where the maggots have a ready source of food. When the eggs hatch, they release the maggots. Some types hatch only after eight hours of the eggs being laid.
Maggots live in this form for about eight to ten days. After that point, they turn into a flies. During the maggots’ current form, they will eat constantly.
Surprisingly, a fly can lay hundreds of eggs. You can quickly begin to see how a maggot infestation can happen overnight.
While maggots serve their purpose in nature—consuming plant matter and carcasses—humans don’t like the look of them at all. It’s also gross to think that flies are laying eggs on fruit that you’re leaving out in a bowl. This is why you often see tiny flies all over the place, even though fruit flies are different than maggot house flies, but the concept is the same.
Ways to Get rid of Maggots
Once you’ve determined that it is maggots that you’re dealing with, and not some other type of insect, you’ll want to find the best method to eradicate them as soon as possible. Often a maggot infestation happens at the least opportune times—the in-laws will be visiting, or there’s a special celebration coming up—so you’ll want to get rid of them fast.
You have two options, and depending on if you’re on deadline, you may be influenced into using a chemical pesticide first, rather than a natural one.
Chemical pesticides are easy to obtain from almost any supermarket. Raid is one of the more common brands, and is sprayed onto surfaces, or into the air at flying insects. Look for a brand that contains permethrin. Many other products such as motor oil contain permethrin, but if you have pets, you may wish to avoid using motor oil.
A pet shampoo that is designed as a flea treatment may also be a safe way. Mix up your shampoo with water and put into a spray bottle. The added benefit is that this will be safe to use around dogs and cats.
Non-chemical methods include physically eradicating them. This means tossing out any carcasses or food debris they may have infested. You can sweep them up and stomp on them. You can scoop them into a bag and place it in the freezer to kill them. If it’s an outdoor location, you can pour boiling water on them.
You’ll need to scrub down your kitchen, garbage bins and any other regions that you’ve seen them congregating. Keeping the floors clean can also be a detriment. You may wish to don rubber gloves and wipe down all surfaces with pure bleach. Consider this your spring cleaning and wash down EVERYTHING.
If you see flies in the air, spray them with raid or use a fly swatter. The sooner you can kill the adults, the sooner they will stop laying their eggs, which eventually turn into maggots.
You may also have to treat your garden, if you’ve seen them there.
It’s awful to think about, but if you have maggots living in your carpet, you can give it a good steam cleaning. Don’t use one of those small hand-held contraptions—rent a powerful steam cleaner from the store.
Recipe to Get rid of Maggots
You can make up your own recipe to use in the eradication of maggots around your home. Here are the steps needed.
Purchase the following list of ingredients and materials.
- Pet flea shampoo containing permethrin, cypermethrine, or carbamate (Basically, an insecticide).
- A large plastic spray bottle.
- Mint oil (Peppermint oil can be found at most pharmacies).
- Tap water
- Use one part pet shampoo for every two parts of water.
- Pour into bottle.
- Add one cup of vinegar.
- Pour about one tablespoon of mint oil into the bottle.
- Shake the bottle. The vinegar will keep the shampoo from sudsing up.
How to Use?
Step 1: Spray down the surfaces where you see the maggots.
Step 2: Let the solution sit for about half an hour.
Step 3: Use disposable paper towels to mop up the mixture and the dead maggots.
Step 4: Discard into a plastic bag.
Step 5: Tie bag closed and dispose into an outdoor trash bin.
Step 6: Use a clean cloth to go over surfaces to ensure they’re sparkling clean.
Step 7: Soak cleaning cloths in bleach to reuse again.
How this recipe works?
Your homemade pesticide spray already contains a pesticide used to kill pet’s fleas, so that is effective at killing maggots as well. Maggots and flies like to avoid peppermint, and the peppermint oil also has the benefit of leaving behind a fresh clean scent, which will cover up any rotten food smells. The vinegar works at keeping the bubbles at bay, as you don’t want a ton of them over the surface of your floors or counters, and it also has a natural antiseptic property too.
Other ways to kill Maggots
You may also use other products to kill maggots, depending on where they are located, and on what type of surface. The following can be sprinkled or sprayed around the home.
- Essential oils
- Diatomaceous earth
- Carburetor cleanser (found in the automotive section).
Things you need to remember
No matter which chemical or method you choose, ensure that your wear a brand new pair of rubber gloves. You don’t want your skin to come into contact with the eggs or maggots. Some chemicals, such as bleach or carburetor cleanser, may also be corrosive to skin.
Consider where you’re treating the surface, and whether kids or pets are likely to come into contact. For example, the inside of garbage cans can be treated with harsher chemicals, as they have lids on them to prevent curious eyes from prying. But you’ll want to exercise caution if you’ve found maggots on your kitchen floor. If in doubt, wear gloves, and rinse and rinse again. Then dry thoroughly with clean rags.
Don’t mix chemicals together unless you’re sure they won’t interact with each other. Look up maggot pesticides on the internet to see which are the most effective.
How to avoid Maggots?
Just like with any other type of insect, it takes some elbow grease to prevent them. This means removing kitchen garbage to the outdoors bins on a daily basis, and ensuring that garbage bags are completely tied up. Be sure to wipe down counters and floors with a natural vinegar and water mixture on a daily basis.
If you have pets, wash their dishes on a daily basis, and wipe down the regions where pet food may have spilled.
If you have house plants, you can buy a natural spray for them that will be unattractive for flies to land on.
Wash your outdoor bins on a regular basis, and hose down sidewalks, driveways, and paths.
Screened windows and doors have to be some of the best inventions every made. If you don’t have any on your home, get them installed immediately.
Flies don’t like certain herbs, such as cloves or basil, so make up some sachets and tuck them around the home. They also make the home smell good.
If you compost organic food waste, never ever put in bones, meat, rice, or anything else that isn’t purely solid fruit, vegetable, or plant matter.
With a bit of effort you can eradicate your maggot infestation, and your neighbours, friends, and family will be none the wiser. It’s quite the incentive to start keeping your home clean and tidy on a daily basis.