If you’re like most people, finding maggots in your house is probably like a horror movie coming to life. Maggots are disgusting and filthy pests that no one wants near their property, much less in their kitchens! What’s more, maggots can cause a myriad of issues, so it is in your best interest to eliminate them from the house before they can spread.
If you’ve been looking online for how to best deal with a maggot infestation in the home, look no further. From start to finish, this detailed guide will tell you what these pests are, where maggots can originate, how you should properly deal with them, and how to keep maggot infestations from reoccurring.
Before setting out to deal with any kind of bug infestation, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you have correctly identified the pest. If you haven’t correctly identified the pest in question, you might end up using an ineffective or wrong solution, leading to a waste of money and time. First, this guide will explain what exactly maggots are, and where they originate.
Maggots are simply fly larva. Flies lay eggs, which then hatch into larvae – or maggots – at the pupal phase. These eventually turn into flies, which will continue to lay eggs, which turn into more larvae. Some people claim that maggots can just appear in the kitchen, but flies need to get inside and lay eggs first. So maggots do indeed have a source.
The issue with flies is that they are capable of laying hundreds of eggs at once. These eggs are then capable of hatching even within one day.
Locating the source of a maggot infestation
The next thing you’ll want to take care of is finding the source or cause of the maggot infestation. Maggots can’t simply appear without a source.
Flies – the source of maggots – are very attracted to things like rotting organic material. In a kitchen, that’s usually food, which the flies will then lay eggs upon. Always make sure to inspect the area where the maggots have appeared, since this will be a clue when you locate the source of your infestation.
Take a good look at the surrounding area. Is there any organic material or food that is going bad, or rotting? Is there any garbage that might have accidentally fallen into a crevice and started to spoil? Maggots have cropped up in places like garbage cans when they’re left open, or garbage bags that aren’t sealed.
If you’re at a loss as to where to start, you should be looking out for adult flies or actual maggots. Visually, maggots are wriggling and small, white worms, which usually will be located on rotting food or organic material.
Usually, if something like garbage or fecal matter is left about, flies can be visually observed around the area within minutes. There, they will lay eggs and reproduce.
Another notable area to keep an eye on is the area surrounding the maggot infestation. Keep an eye out for avenues that flies might use to enter the area, like cracks or crevices in walls or windows. These areas should be noted for later.
Maggots in the Kitchen
Unfortunately, kitchens can be prone to maggot infestations because of their tendency to house things like rotten food. Other items, like improperly stored and sealed pet food, can also attract flies. Also, garbage cans can become magnets for maggots if not emptied routinely. Finally, maggots can be discovered along floors, walls, countertops, or inside pantries.
Maggots on Kitchen Floors
If you don’t keep on top of cleaning floors maggots can become an issue. Ensure items like garbage, animal fecal matter, or rotting foods are removed from the floor. Once you’re sure that no garbage or maggots remain, clean the floors with a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. Using this on the floors should help prevent recurring infestations.
Maggots in the Bathroom
If maggots are discovered in areas like the sink or bathtub, it’s likely that they have a source of food inside the drain. Animals can die near bodies of water, meaning that small animals might become trapped in drain lines. This can cause the drain to develop maggot infestations.
Another reason for maggots in the bathroom is simply improper cleaning. Bathrooms need to be cleaned at minimum on a weekly basis as a preventative measure.
To banish maggots from bathrooms, try to scrub around the drain first, then pour boiling water down it. Wait about thirty minutes before pouring an enzyme-based cleaner into the drain. This combination should be enough to kill maggots or eggs that might be lingering in the drain.
Repeat this technique twice a day for about one week to keep the bathroom completely free from maggots.
Maggots in Carpets
If you discover maggots inside carpets, this probably means that a spill occurred and wasn’t properly cleaned, or possibly a pet soiled an area that went unnoticed. Someone may have even dropped food items in an area that wasn’t often checked.
Finding maggots in the carpet calls for the use of a spray on solution. Insecticides, which can be found at most stores, are effective. Alternatively, a DIY spray at home can be made by combining vinegar or lemon juice with some warm water. These can be put into spray bottles for easy application. Another method, that is a more natural way of killing maggots, is boric acid.
Once you’ve killed all the maggots, vacuum the carpet thoroughly and then dispose of the vacuum bag right away. Repeat these steps as many times as necessary until all the maggots are removed.
If you’ve located maggots, as well as the source, you should dispose of both parties and follow up with sanitary measures.
Kitchens should be a primary focus, since kitchens can harbor a lot of spoiled food, and can accumulate garbage. These can become prime targets for maggots and flies.
Begin with a cursory cleaning of countertops and tabletops. Next, mop up the floors and make sure all areas are thoroughly dried. Take out the garbage and make sure to dispose of spoiled foods are properly. Remember that cleaning is imperative because the use of pesticides alone won’t be effective unless you can stop maggots from reappearing.
If an infestation is taking place in an area like a basement or garage, start by cleaning the general area very well and disposing of anything that might be a food source. Dispose of these sources in garbage cans that have fitted lids and are located outside of the house.
If your maggot issue is located outdoors, it might be good enough to just clean away the source of the infestation by removing whatever filth caused the infestation in the first place.
Using Hot Water
To begin, you should take whatever garbage that was inside the trash can out. Wear gloves so you don’t need to touch the garbage directly. Scrape anything stuck to the bottom of the can out of it and dispose of it. Leave this garbage out for collection or dispose of it at a dumpster.
It’s a good idea to deal with maggot infestations in garbage cans the day after trash collection, so the garbage can will be empty. If you suspect an infestation in your garbage disposal, you should clean it out as well. You can do this by pouring a combination of vinegar and boiling hot water into the sink.
For garbage cans, first boil some water in a large pot or kettle. Pour the boiling water over the maggots in the can, ensuring that you cover the whole surface area. Boiling water can kill maggots and eggs immediately.
Next, rinse the trash can out with water and make sure it is completely empty. You can use a garden hose for this task.
Afterwards, prepare a bucket of soapy and hot water. You can use a brush with this mixture to completely clean your garbage can. Of course, you can put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands.
Vinegar and water combinations can also be used on garbage cans. Another thing you can try is mint oil, which should be put on the inside of the garbage can. This is supposed to discourage maggots.
Try not to pour the dirty water into a storm drain. These tend to go straight into clean bodies of water, like local streams or rivers.
Leave your can out to dry thoroughly after its been washed. Maggots enjoy moist places, so put your garbage can somewhere sunny if you don’t want to hand dry it. Remember to keep up with this routine weekly or every two weeks to prevent reoccurrence of an infestation.
When your garbage can is totally clean, you should try lining it with garbage bags to make sure that maggots can’t return to the site. Then, you can try putting an elastic band around the edges of the garbage can so that nothing can slip in between the garbage bag and the actual garbage can.
Before you go and buy an insecticide to use, ensure that it’s a non-toxic product that is safe to use around pets, children, or other people living in your household.
If you’re looking for something that is non-toxic and safe for killing maggots, one product you can try is pet shampoo with an insecticide ingredient. Check the ingredient label to see if your shampoo has some insecticide as a component. You can mix it into some warm water inside a bottle before pouring it into the area you need to treat. You could also put it in a spray bottle for easier application in certain places. Wait for a few minutes for it to soak before draining and rinsing the can.
When you’re sure that the maggots have been killed, you can use something like a paper towel or broom to get rid of them. Dispose of all the cleaning materials and maggots in an outdoor garbage unit.
Once the maggots are gone, proceed with sanitizing the area with a product that has antibacterial properties. If you want to make some yourself, mix vinegar with some warm water. When you’re done, try to dry out the area completely so that moisture doesn’t invite more flies.
Why am I finding maggots on my kitchen floor?
If you’re confused about finding maggots on your floor, you need to know exactly what maggots are and their life cycle.
Maggots are just fly larvae; specifically, they’re the larvae of some of the most common flies. A fly is able to lay about 2400 eggs in its life span, which will then become larvae/maggots.
The presence of maggots in your home indicates that adult flies are most likely being invited in by a food source. Most of the time, these are things like garbage or animal fecal matter.
If the source of the flies is an animal carcass, this means that flies are laying eggs on the rotting animal, eventually producing maggots. The body is used as a food source.
How To Prevent a Maggot Infestation
Cleaning Kitchen Surfaces Properly
Flies love places that are damp and dirty. This can be an area with food bits or rotting animal carcasses. Fly eggs are able to hatch overnight, or a day following their laying. Regular and diligent cleaning can stop eggs from hatching before they become maggots.
A separate issue is that areas like sinks and countertops can harbor maggots without regular cleaning.
Using Natural Fly Repellents
There are actually a few things you probably already have in the kitchen that can guard against flies.
Maybe you have some aromatic herbs lying around, such as lavender, bay leaves or basil. Or, perhaps, you have some apple cider vinegar or vodka. Other repellents that might be a bit less easy to find include witch hazel, lemongrass oil, camphor smoke, cloves and citronella. These items can be used as repellants in spray solutions.
The humble item, dish soap, is also effective at repelling flies and being an insecticide. A lot of dish soaps have minute quantities of borax, which is harmful to insects on contact.
Using an Electronic Fly Trap
Electronic fly traps work by sending out a bit of white UV light. This light invites flies over, and when the flies approach, the trap jolts them with a bit of electricity to kill them instantly.
These fly traps can also kill other insects, but you should be careful not to accidentally kill benign insects, such as honeybees, as they are useful for the environment.
Using Fly Repelling Plants
Using plants to repel flies is a low effort solution. You can try using plants like marigold, chrysanthemum, tansy, or lavender. A Venus flytrap is a plant that actually eat insects.
Of course, plants can’t stop pests completely on their own, but they can enhance air quality and make the space more visually attractive. You’ll always need to clean diligently to prevent bugs.
If you procure a plant to repel flies, put it somewhere close to a door or window so the plant can get adequate sunshine to flourish.
Properly Covering All Foodstuffs and Garbage Cans
Flies always try to lay eggs in spots that their larvae will have food to consume upon hatching. This is why uncovered food or poorly secured garbage is a good place for them to start. Make sure to securely cover food items at night.
Self-sealing garbage cans are good for indoor use because they close themselves, preventing bugs from getting inside. Remember to empty them promptly.
If you have frequent leftovers, secure them in bags or containers that can be sealed off before you put them into the garbage.
Fly strips can be used to catch flies indoors. Make sure to strategically put them closer to places that might be prone to flies and infestations, such as areas around garbage cans, in the kitchen, or near sinks.
It’s a good idea to put screens onto open things like windows and doors to stop bugs from coming through if you open a window for some air. If you’ve already put in screens, you need to make sure that the screens don’t have any small holes that might be allowing flies inside.
Dumping a mix of bleach and water into drains should kill off things like bacteria that could be attracting flies. You can routinely repeat this to kill bacteria. To do this, start by mixing together half a gallon of water with some bleach – about a half cup. Alternatively, you can use a mixture of equal parts vinegar and baking soda. Either of these mixtures can then be poured into the drain. Afterwards, run the water for a while to rinse the drain out.
If you need to get rid of something like spoiled meat, consider putting it in the freezer until it’s time to take out the trash. This means you won’t be keeping it in the garbage can, where it can continue to spoil and attract flies and maggots.
One thing you can do in this case is put meat inside a newspaper or plastic bag, and then put the whole thing in the freezer. It can be stored there until it’s time to take out the garbage. On garbage day, dispose of the meat like normal. This will stop meat from festering for days until the garbage is taken away. Alternatively, you can dispose of your garbage in a dumpster somewhere far from the house to avoid keeping it around for long periods of time.
If you regularly recycle food containers, it’s important to wash them properly to keep things such as food scraps and stains from attracting flies. Otherwise, you could end up with an infestation in your recycling, as well as your garbage.
It’s not the best idea to store pet foods outside the home because this could easily attract insects like flies and become an egg source. These insects will be around your home and might eventually find ways to get inside the house. Storing pet foods inside will help to prevent fly infestations.
How do you get maggots in a home?
Flies tend to enter homes when a door or window is open, attracted by the smell of food. They proceed to lay eggs on a food source, which will grow into maggots.
Are there natural remedies to get rid of maggots?
Natural items like lemon juice can kill off maggots. Putting a quantity of salt, pouring boiling water, or pouring vinegar on them will also kill them.
What are maggots a sign of?
Maggots are commonly a sign that food is being left out or improperly stored. It may also be a sign that flies have been sneaking indoors through doors or windows. Also, inspect your pet’s wounds to make sure that bugs don’t infest them.
How do I get rid of maggots in my pets?
If you suspect that maggots are getting into your pet’s wounds, you might need to remove or shave fur surrounding the wound to inspect it properly. Usually, applying topical ointment and washing your pet with insect-treating shampoo will help. The most important thing to do is to take your pet to a vet as soon as feasible. There they can be properly treated.
How long can maggot infestations last?
Luckily, maggots only stick around for 3-5 days to eat from a food source. The entire cycle to produce a fly from an egg will take 14-36 days. However, when it is complete, the cycle will repeat itself and worsen any existing infestation.
When to call a professional exterminator to treat maggots
If you think that a maggot infestation has gotten out of hand, or if you simply don’t want to tackle it alone, you might want to call a professional to deal with it. A recurring infestation might also be a good time to call in a professional. Also, if you aren’t sure if you’re dealing with maggots, you might need to call someone who is able to identify the pest in question.
Can maggots cause health problems?
Maggots are undoubtedly a pain to deal with; luckily there isn’t much evidence that they can cause harm to your health. Flies are a common occurrence regardless of what environment you’re in, and can get into even the most well-kept homes. If you worry about maggots, the best thing to do is be diligent with cleaning and secure your garbage properly.
Even though the topic of maggots is distinctly unpleasant, there may come a day when you appreciate knowing how exactly to get rid of an infestation. Kitchens are susceptible to maggots, since they’re an area where food and garbage are often kept unsecured and out in the open. In general, homes can harbor maggots because they become sources of food for flies, which are attracted to the scent of waste or old food.