Why Are There Maggots in My House?

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Although it may be uncomfortable to discuss, insects in the house are a common obstacle that every homeowner must face at one time or another. While it's not unusual to see a creepy crawler scooting along the sidewalk outside, an insect in your home wriggling along the linoleum is an unwelcome sight. Ants, spiders, and flies are the usual household invaders, but maggots are less common and show up in specific conditions.

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Maggots are fly larvae, and they happen when flies lay eggs in your home. This happens when the fly finds an ideal situation, which is usually trash that's not disposed of properly.

What Are Maggots?

To figure out why you have maggots in your house, it's important to understand what maggots are and how they came to be. Simply put, maggots are fly larvae. Calliphorids or blow flies are the most common flies found in homes. Throughout its life cycle, a female fly can lay up to 2,400 eggs that hatch into creamy, spindle-shaped larvae.

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Flies prefer to lay their eggs in protected, warm spots with an ample food source. That's why you might find them in your trash can. Once the eggs hatch, the maggots feast on the rotting organic matter that's in your trash can. The maggots can emerge within 24 hours of the eggs being laid, so the maggot population can quickly increase under ideal circumstances.

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Seek Out the Source

If you are finding maggots in your house, it means that adult flies are finding something attractive in or around your home and laying eggs. In most cases, it is either household trash disposed of improperly or dog feces. Sometimes a dead animal carcass is the culprit, but that's less likely to happen in or around your home. The female fly lays eggs on the rotting garbage, dead animal, or pet waste, then maggots emerge to feed on the decaying matter. Once you identify the source, you can deal with the issue to discourage flies from laying eggs there.

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Focus on Sanitation

The only way to break the cycle and eliminate the maggots is to get rid of flies by cleaning up whatever is attracting them. This usually means bagging all garbage and pet feces and properly disposing of it at a waste facility. If a wild animal carcass is the problem, a call to animal control can have the body carted away.

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After eliminating the maggot's food source, begin removing the maggots and flies. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any flies and maggots you see moving along the floor or hiding in wall crevices, floorboards, or under rugs. Remove the vacuum bag immediately afterward and place it in a plastic garbage bag. Tie the bag tightly and throw it away.

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If the maggot infestation happened in an outdoor trash can, remove all waste from the bin and kill the maggots with boiling water. You can leave it plain or use 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water to help remove odors that attract flies. Then scrub the entire trash can with hot, soapy water and rinse it out. Dry the trash can well to remove moisture that can attract more flies.

Skip the Insecticides

The use of an insecticide to eliminate flies and maggots within the home is rarely appropriate and should only be a last resort if nonchemical maggot removal methods fail. While an insecticide will hit its mark and bring down the fly and maggot population, the final result is not always ideal. Secondary pest infestations can sometimes occur after the use of a chemical insecticide; new pests may feed on the dead fly and maggot carcasses.

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