Maggots can appear in any corner of your home, from your kitchen floor to your yard and even on your pet. You’ll need to stay on alert and use some household remedies to eliminate these pesky (not to mention gross) intruders.
Maggots are simply baby flies (larvae), with the majority found in or around the home belonging to the common housefly species. They have a conical shape and are usually gray or creamy white.
The main cause of a maggot infestation is improperly stored trash and food left out to rot. Maggots are generally easy to spot. Most are around the size of a thumbnail and pop up near the food substances they infest.
The moment you spot these pests in your house, you may scream (or worse)—and you’re probably not looking to waste any time in getting rid of them for good.
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Where do maggots come from?
Maggots hatch from fly eggs—maggot is just another word for "larva."
Flies will search for areas where they feel like their eggs will be safe and well-fed, including inside your home. Maggots need to eat constantly to grow, which is why you’ll typically find them near old or rotting food.
Excess piles of dog feces or even an animal carcass in your yard will also be an attractive egg-laying spot for houseflies.
How can I spot maggots?
Maggots are relatively easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for:
- Most are around the size of a thumbnail
- They’re usually creamy white or gray
- They’ll be crawling in and around food or left-out trash
If you suspect you may have a maggot infestation, here are some places to check:
- To check your garbage, take a stick or put on gloves. Move the bag around and break open food inside
- To check your pet, look for a wound on their skin and feel for a hard bump under their flesh
- There’s a chance maggots have infested your plants—if your once-healthy greenery is suddenly dying, pull the plant up and check its roots
How long does a maggot infestation last?
Maggots will appear one day after a fly lays its eggs.
They typically feed for around 3-5 days, which should give you enough time to rid your house of them before the problem worsens. (It takes 14-26 days for the eggs to mature into adult flies.)
If the area where the maggots originated isn’t decontaminated fully, the infestation will only get worse—so try to get rid of maggots the first time around!
How to get rid of maggots
Maggots can appear in a variety of places in your house, yard, and, in the worst-case scenario, on your pets. Here are some general instructions for eradicating maggots in each of these locations.
In the home
- Find all infested sites. You may see maggots on the kitchen floor: check for food products lying around, double-check your garbage bins. You may also want to check whether your house’s foundation is rotting.
- Kill the maggots and eggs. There are a couple of ways to effectively kill maggots and any eggs around them. You can sprinkle them with salt or spray them with an insecticide.
- Clean the area thoroughly. Once you’ve killed off all the maggots and eggs, rinse or wash the general area. Spraying fly repellant can help ward off future infestations.
You can choose between home remedies like salt or store-bought insecticides depending on the size of the infestation, its location, and whether you’re comfortable using chemicals.
In the yard
- Determine the infestation’s location. You’ll need to determine the scope of the infestation in your yard. Check for any significant holes bored into the roots of plants by digging up the earth surrounding them.
- Use spray or dust to clear the area. Apply a vegetable and fruit spray to the diseased area’s soil. If you’re worried about the spray drifting, you can use a similar technique to just dust the area.
On your pets
- Check for maggots. Like with any other infestation site, you’ll want to double-check that your pet does have maggots. Look for anything moving or hard under the skin, especially in open wounds and between toe joints.
- Take them to the vet. Unlike other maggot infestations, this one requires immediate professional help. Veterinarians will be able to eradicate the maggots and treat any related infection or wounds.
- Keep your pet clean. To prevent further infestations, keep your pet clean and wash them with shampoo during peak egg-laying season (usually springtime).
How to kill maggots naturally
Many common techniques to get rid of maggots rely on chemicals—but if you want to use natural or organic means instead, you definitely can.
If the maggots are in your trash bin, you can use boiling water to get rid of them. Lime or lemon juice can also effectively kill maggots if they’re on the floor outside the garbage bin.
If maggots are infesting your yard, diatomaceous earth—naturally occurring sand—can be spread over the soil to kill them.
When should I call a professional exterminator?
Of course, you may be dealing with an infestation that is just beyond your capabilities to eliminate.
The infestation may have taken over multiple rooms, or you may be having difficulty identifying the specific pest to blame.
In these situations, getting a professional extermination service can end up saving you a lot of time and stress.
Tips for keeping maggots out of your home
Here are a few general tips to reduce your chances of encountering maggots in your home:
- Clean up all food and food waste right away
- Store food in airtight containers to prevent odors from attracting flies
- If you have a pet dish, keep it covered and rinse it out regularly (especially if you give wet or raw food)
- If you keep compost in your yard, be sure it’s covered or sealed properly
- Clean up after your pet in the yard—don’t let feces build up or sit for long
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What tools do I need to get rid of maggots in my home?
Most of the things you’ll need to get rid of maggots are things you should already have around the house:
Vegetable and fruit spray/dust
Lime or lemon juice
These are also readily available at your local grocery and hardware store.
Can I get rid of maggots in my pet by myself?
We wouldn’t recommend trying to rid your pet of maggots by yourself.
A vet will know exactly how to do it without hurting your pet as well as giving you treatments to prevent further infections.
How much does it cost for a professional exterminator to remove maggots?
A professional exterminator may charge anywhere from $175 to $300 to remove maggots. The price will range depending on where you live and the extent of your infestation.