Bugs and worms are probably the most fear-inducing and repugnant class of living beings on this earth. Some of them have their natural habitat in various elements of earth, while others can be found living in places that are left neglected and unattended by us humans. For example, the space behind a dresser or a bed. Or maybe luggage not being used. Maybe you should check that tarp covering you have left neglected in your garage for years now. Because if you don’t check, there are chances that it may lead to an infestation that will be fully out of your control soon, and you will have to end up calling pest control to get the situation back in control. Any infestation is bad, be it a cockroach infestation or fungi growing on the floor and walls. But one of the worst forms of it can be maggot infestation. And if you already have one currently in your home, you may well understand the woe of seeing those hideous creatures just about everywhere you go. Are you wondering how to kill maggots on your own? So to help you a little, here is a list of home remedies to get rid of maggots.
But, before you read the list, let’s find a little more about these creatures. In the simplest of languages possible, maggots are the larvae of a fly. And no, these maggots do not appear out of anywhere. They hatch from the eggs laid by a fly and are a part of its life cycle. The flies lay eggs, which hatch into the larvae that we call maggots. These maggots then eat and thrive on a certain food source, depending on the species, and grow to be of a certain size before they move on to the pupal stage. In the case of house flies, animal manure is a suitable growth area (1).
These pupae then turn into flies and they lay more eggs, about a hundred eggs at a time. Now you may be wondering that why didn’t you notice these eggs ever if they are in such a huge number. Well, that is because they are rather very minute, but the major reason is that they hatch in a time span of about 8 to 20 hours in the perfect conditions (2). So if you have neglected a certain space for a long time, the infestation may have already started.
What Causes Maggots?
But, they don’t just appear anywhere. Like mentioned before, the maggots only eat until they turn into a pupa, from which they begin their next stage. A female has a life expectancy of about a month, during which it may lay anywhere in between 500 to 2,000 eggs. So the female fly has to ensure that it lays the eggs in a place where the larvae will find ample amount of food and would survive. This is why you will find them most in food products that are old and have gone bad or are probably rotting. They prefer rotting meat, pet food, animal carcasses, just about any flesh would do. Maggots need food to survive and grow into the pupal stage. So neglected spaces with rotting food are favorable and probably what causes maggots to grow unhindered.
But, not all types of flies lay eggs that hatch into maggots. Only flies of the Brachycera family, like the houseflies, cheese flies, and blowflies give birth to larvae that can be called Maggots. But, since the most beneficial notion is “prevention is better than cure”, it is in the interest of everyone that we should not wait for the infestation to begin by learning how to prevent maggots from increasing in number and let their numbers get out of hand.
An infestation occurs when the population of a certain organism begins to increase rapidly because of favorable conditions. In the case of maggots, we can say that these conditions can be defined as an ample of food to thrive on, and a damp place where they can easily survive, continuously multiplying. So the logical consequence of this is that we take these two conditions out of the equation. This would not only solve the maggot problem but will also take care of the fly problem as they would not find anywhere suitable to lay eggs, putting an abrupt stop to their breeding.
Here is a small list of precautions that you can take to ensure that the flies stay out of your home and there is no scope of an infestation.
- For the common housefly, you should process and dispose of manure, bad plants, and other such organic stuff regularly (every 3 to 4 days). It is a far more effective method of fighting or controlling the number of houseflies as compared to spraying insecticides. Having a proper waste system is a must.
- Sewage and waste are the most favorable to housefly breeding, especially if the surroundings are moist. They cannot multiply in dry conditions and need a damp place with the abundant organic matter. Make sure that it is properly disposed of with no leakage of any sorts.
- The lids on the garbage cans and dustbins must fit tightly, and you should ensure this especially during the months of summer and spring.
- It is probably a smart idea to keep flies out of the structure altogether. For this, you can use screens on all your doors. For an even better protection, you can use automatic door closers and reduce chances of a blunder.
- You can employ flytraps to catch them. Place them on the less windy and sunnier side of the structure. You can make a bait of any sweetening material, milk or apple peelings. Before removing them, kill the flies, and for disposal, you can easily burn or bury them.
- Make use of electric grids. These are grids of electrical wires with a high voltage running through them. A bait is placed behind them to attract the flies (you can use any of the above, however, modern ones come with bright lights that attract flies and moths). Protect children from going near them by installing them at a height.
- Blowflies are larger flies and you may recognize them by the “buzzing” sound they make when they fly. Maggots of blowflies have an affinity for the protein-based organic material. Do not leave cheese, eggs, meat, fish, dead animals, or feces dogs and animals lying carelessly as they can give rise to a blowfly maggot infestation.
- If you think that it will only happen outside the house, then that’s not true. Excretions of birds and animals, rotting food and meat, or carcasses of rats can be easily available to them if you slip in your duties of cleaning out the house.
- It will be beneficial if you can dispose of excretions from your pet by immediately burying it.
- Fruit flies, as the name suggests, prefer fruits, vegetables, vinegar, cider, and other plant products, more so if they are produced by fungi. To avoid fruit fly maggots, dispose of peelings of fruits and vegetables.
- While buying fruits and vegetables, check for cuts or breaks in their skin. This may mean that the fly has already laid eggs in it and can prove to be hazardous for you.
- Wet wood flies are characteristic to spots that face water on a regular basis. They feast on wood or other organic matter which is regularly soaked in enough water. Like the wood of the cabinets near your kitchen’s sink.
- You should repair any faulty plumbing inside your house. It will probably be best if you maintain the plumbing in your house regularly.
- Clean all the drains off scum. You can do that without removing them.
- If you have got maggots inside the garbage bin, then choose a day with a really pleasant weather. On such a day, open the lid of the bin and keep it in the open. Let the birds feast on some maggots.
- In such cases, you can spray some vinegar on the inside and lid of the bins, too.
- The longer you let the organic waste stay in the dustbin, the more are the chances that it will become a breeding ground for the maggots. You should put up your green garbage bin for collection at regular intervals, even if it means that it will not be completely full at the time of collection.
- Flies and maggots like to feast on high protein sources, like meat and bones. If that is possible for you, try to avoid dumping unwanted meat and bones until the day of trash collection.
- Since the smell is what attracts the flies, try freezing the smelly meat and other organic waste. Do this only if the space in your fridge permits you. Put them in your green bin only the night before collection (3).
- You can also try something as simple as hiding your organic waste while it is inside the trash can. You can mask your organic waste by layering it over with waste collected off of your yard.
- Make use of some weather stripping along the line where the lid resides when closed. Weather strippings are actually long foam strips that are out on doors and windows for the purpose of weatherproofing the house. They will seal any gap between the garbage can and the lid, from where the flies can enter (4). For this matter, you can also use them to cover any gaps in the doors and windows in seasons that promote the unhindered growth of flies.
- Cleanliness can be your best friend in preventing an outbreak of maggots. Flies find the perfect breeding grounds from the smell of rotting food. Wash your organic waste cart on a regular basis. You can use a mixture of water and borax or water and vinegar to clean. Or you can employ mild soaps, too.
- After cleaning, make sure that you did not leave any residual cleaning material in the cart at the time of collection. Also, avoid washing them near drains as the cleaning substance can run off to creeks and other water sources.
- Make sure that the cart is completely dry before you decide to use it again.
- Also, ensure that there is no liquid at the bottom of the cart after the trash has been collected. This is in order to not give the flies a favorable environment (5).
- You can also use prevention methods for flies to reduce the breeding process that gives rise to the maggots.
These may be a lot of precautions to take care of, but it might save you probably a lot more effort of calling pest control and leaving things on them. A little step taken now may go a long way in stopping these unattractive creatures from infesting inconspicuous spaces of your home and other buildings. With that in mind, let’s proceed further and take a look at the list of home remedies that describe how to get rid of maggots.
How To Get Rid of Maggots at Home
It does not take much time for a maggot infestation to get out of control. So it is highly advisable that you keep a vigilant check on spaces that are susceptible to possible maggot infestation. Take necessary steps to prevent breeding of all different kinds of flies inside your house, barn, stables and other such places. And if by some bad luck, these may have skipped your notice and turned into an unwanted state of affairs, here is how to get rid of maggots thriving in the carpet, wood, food, waste and other such places.
1. Lice Shampoo/Dog Shampoo
Permethrin is a chemical that is widely sold as both, a medicine and an insecticide. As an insecticide, it is designed in such a way that when an insect comes into physical contact with it, they die and this is what kills maggots. Permethrin is sometimes also used as an active ingredient in topical application aerosol and gels that are used over the wounds of cattle to prevent maggots from making these wounds a home. These wounds can be anything from a castration or dehorning, to a wire or sheer wound (6). In some cases, pour-on insecticides used in the removal of houseflies and other stable flies contain permethrin as an active ingredient (7). You don’t have to buy permethrin from a store. The other use of it is against lice and you can most commonly see it listed as an active ingredient in dog shampoo. Start by boiling some water and mixing some dog shampoo in it. Pour this solution over the maggots and this will solve your maggot problem.
It is okay if you cannot find any dog shampoo with permethrin in your house. You can also use lice shampoo or bedding spray as some companies use Permethrin as an active ingredient in these. Also, if you have pets like cats or fishes in your house, it is better to keep them away from permethrin as it may be harmful to them. Also, try not to get permethrin in your eyes, ear, nose or mouth.
2. Boiling Water
So if you don’t wish to make a long and arduous trip to the supermarket to grab things that could help you in killing maggots, it is a good thing that you don’t have to. There are easier and homely ways of getting rid of an infestation, and you can do it all by yourself. It has been proven in a research that hot, boiling water can be a good way of getting rid of maggots. It is the most simple and plain, yet effectively amazing way to stop maggots dead in their tracks. And it is totally inexpensive, too (8). So if you are wondering what kills maggots instantly, You can just pour some scalding hot water over them and that will do the trick. This is an especially effective technique to kill maggots if they are restricted to a closed off or restricted place. You can clean your garbage bin free off maggots by pouring boiling water into it.
Another class of insecticides that are effective against maggots of various flies is Pyrethrin. The most favorable thing about the use of Pyrethrin is that it is organic. A similar organic compound that you can easily find in a number household insecticides and bug sprays is Pyrethroid. Although the use of insecticides is not really favorable because of the presence of various chemicals, the fact that works in the favor and makes these compounds trustworthy is that they are organic. Pyrethrin and Pyrethroids are obtained from the plant of Chrysanthemums. They naturally occur in the flowers of the plant.
House flies and moth flies can easily be kept in check by the use of Pyrethrin sprays as they are known to kill the adults (9). Pyrethroid-based insecticides also work great against blueberry maggots in places where the average temperature is not much. Also, the duration between consecutive application cannot be too much (10).
The sprays available in the market may contain some other harmful chemicals too. So, it is always a good idea to make a natural spray at home. Just get some petals from any chrysanthemum flower and make a strong tea out of it. Cool down the tea, add some unflavored vodka in it and pour this mixture in a spray bottle. Spray this mixture wherever you suspect maggot activity.
4. Diatomaceous Earth
There are many natural ways of getting rid of maggots. One of these is the use of diatomaceous earth (DE). It is a naturally occurring soft sedimentary rock that can be crushed to a white or off-white powdered form. DE has many uses in a large number of fields, ranging from to industries, to health and hygiene care. But there is a use of diatomaceous earth that can be really useful in solving a serious maggot problem. It can be used to kill maggots and slugs (11). Using diatomaceous earth to kill maggots is very easy. All you have got to do is identify the affected area and sprinkle some DE over the maggots. What it does is that it sticks to the body of the maggots, dehydrating them severely, and killing them eventually. You can easily find diatomaceous earth in the nurseries and gardens as the people who run these places must surely keep a good amount of it in their inventories. This can be credited to nature’s formula for creating a balance in between things that it created.
5. Lime or Salt
What we learned from the use of diatomaceous earth is that if we can cut these maggots off from the water supply, it becomes easy to get rid of them. Dehydration is a real factor in killing maggots as all they do is eat and take in nutrition so that they can survive till the time pupation begins. In this regard, we can use a number of naturally occurring substances apart from diatomaceous earth, but to the same effect. If the point is to dehydrate these creatures, then you can also make use of salt and lime (12).
These powdered substances also have a similar dehydrating effect on the maggots, killing them in the long run. The lime mentioned here is calcium hydroxide, which is present in chalk and limestone that are easily available in the market. Just mix the chalk/limestone powder with salt and sprinkle it on the areas, where maggots have been breeding. You have to sprinkle generous amounts of salt or lime onto the maggots, much like what you did with diatomaceous earth. This will dry the maggots, killing them with the lack of water.
One thing to remember is that after the use of diatomaceous earth, salt or lime, clean the area or section thoroughly. Make sure that no residue is left behind as this can give rise to the same maggot problem again.
Mushrooms are grown when the spores find a host, attach to it, and find a hospitable place to acquire food and water from. In many mushroom cultivations, this environment is usually provided in the form of manure. This decaying matter has the full potential of being a proper breeding ground for flies and may result in a maggot infestation. Fumigation is the process of filling a space with gaseous pesticides or fumigants, killing the pests in that space by suffocation or poisoning. It is a very useful process if you wish to get rid of maggots. Simple fumigation with carbon disulfide will destroy any maggots present in the mushroom beds.
To prevent flies and adults from swarming places, you can make use of tobacco or nicotine-based preparations, as per the guidelines mentioned on the package. Application of this once a week has proven to be really successful in getting their numbers down significantly (13).
Do’s and Don’ts Of Dealing With Maggots
Maggots can be the beginning of a bigger problem and to overlook them can prove to be a costly decision. Never ever take something as severe as an infestation lightly. As you are already informed that the life expectancy of an average fly is about a month, in which it can lay anywhere between 500 to 2,000 eggs. And these eggs hatch in a span of about 8 to hours in the most favorable conditions. This means that if a situation gets too bad, you are looking at thousands of maggots hatching every day with almost no shortage of food to survive on. Some maggots even eat other maggots so there will not be any deficiency of any sorts. So do not think of it as something normal, as it is, in every possible way, an abnormal situation.
There have been cases around the world that these maggots went past their normal behavior of feasting on dead and rotting flesh. They somehow managed to enter living organisms and began eating their flesh. Maggots in dogs, if not a normal site, is not unheard of. But there also instances that they have entered into human flesh. Now, this may look like a really unpleasant situation because it really is. Nobody would prefer letting these creatures thrive inside their houses, let alone their bodies. So, under no circumstances, should you overlook such a situation.
As far as the use of chemicals and insecticide is considered, proper precautions must always be observed for your own safety, and for that of your people and pets. When you are using any insecticide, it is better to ensure that it does not run off to the soil or water sources like creeks and waterways. This may prove to be extremely hazardous to a wide variety of life.
Another tip would be to not ignore strong bad scents. If something rots, it emanates a really strong and unpleasant stench. So when you are cleaning, or just passing by a place and suddenly smell something really foul, do not do the mistake of ignoring it. It may either be that the flies can also smell it, or may have already found it now and made it home to their larvae. Also, if you have a pet in your home, take care of their food. Dog food can also be a good source for maggots in house to survive and thrive.
Maggots are a stage in the life cycle of a fly. And they can turn into an infestation if they find the perfect place to breed. So, if you wish to stop your house, barn or any other such place from becoming a thriving breeding ground for them, you really should take matters into your hand and kill maggots as soon as possible. But, what is even better than getting rid of them without creating much of a mess? It is to prevent them from ever becoming a possibility in the first place. Proper prevention for flies must be taken and you should not allow organic matter to stay and rot in a place. This situation may look ugly to you, but it can lead to really drastic results, that are way uglier than this.
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