Maggots are the pale, leggless larvae of various types of flies, and you might find them inside of your house if the egg-laying females find moist, organic waste on which to breed. Maggots pose no threat to people or pets, but the wiggly worms can still make your skin crawl if you find them in your kitchen trashcan, recycle bins, potted plants, wet towels or damp carpeting. The pests are hard to control because normal insecticides and fumigators have little effect on them. You'll have to use natural control measures instead.

Wash Them Away

Finding maggots in containers or fabric items takes the word "revolting" to a whole new level. Fortunately, fly larvae are easy to wash away.

Container Maggots

You can get rid of maggots squirming around in dirty garbage cans, wastebaskets, recycle bins and other plastic containers by pouring a pot of boiling water over them. The folks from Anne Arundel County, Maryland, take it a step further and combine water with other ingredients to clean and disinfect larvae-infested containers while killing the pests. They recommend bringing 1 gallon of water to a boil and adding 1 1/2 cups of hydrogen peroxide and 1 cup of household bleach. Carefully pour the hot solution into the container. Allow it to sit until the maggots no longer move and then pour the water out.

Preventing Container Maggots

Keep trashcans, recycling bins and other containers clean by scrubbing all surfaces with a solution of 1 part distilled white vinegar and 2 parts water. Wash containers once a week to keep them free of decaying organic material and to kill odors that attract egg-laying female flies. Set washed containers in a sunny spot to completely dry before using them again. Keeping trashcans and recycling bins dry is crucial to maggot control because the little buggers need moisture to survive.

Cleaning out trashcans with undiluted ammonia also makes containers unattractive to flies. Simply scrub the trashcans with a stiff brush, allow the ammonia to sit for a few minutes and rinse the cans thoroughly with clean water. Allow cleaned containers to thoroughly dry before tossing more stuff in them.

Fabric Maggots

If you find maggots in damp towels or clothing, there's no need to throw the items away. They might not be infested by fly larvae but instead be hosting the larvae of clothes moths. Either way, washing the fabric items in your washing machine should kill the squirming pests, but the water temperature must reach at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you wash the items in the hottest water setting safe for the fabrics, dry the items as you normally would.

Preventing Fabric Maggots

Promptly hanging up damp towels, rags or clothing on hooks to dry is the best way to prevent flies from laying eggs on damp fabric.

Cover Them Up

If you notice maggots wiggling about in containers, on carpeting or across hard surfaces, simply cover them with whatever kind of salt you have on hand. Maggots require a moist environment to survive, and salt absorbs water, leaving the soft-bodied larvae to dry out and die.

Diatomaceous earth is a dust made from ground-up, fossilized aquatic organisms known as diatoms. This natural product contains tiny, abrasive particles that scratch up soft-bodied pests, including maggots. This causes the larvae to quickly desiccate and die. Simply use the DE dust canister to sprinkle a thin layer of dust directly over the maggots.

Feed the Birds

Birds love eating worms, including maggots. If you find larvae on delicate or dry-clean-only fabric items, take them outside and shake them so the pests fall to the ground. In a similar vein, sweep up any maggots you spot on carpeting or hard flooring and dump them outside so your fine-feathered friends can have a snack.

Treat Soils

If you spot maggots with 1/4-inch long, translucent bodies and black heads in the soil of potted plants, you're likely looking at the larvae of fungus gnats (Sciara spp.). Fungus gnat maggots prefer to feed on decomposing plant matter and fungi they find in the soils, but they'll nibble on plant roots if they get hungry.

Get rid of the larvae by using using a Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis product as a soil drench. As always, carefully read and follow the instructions on the label. One Bti product suggests mixing 4 to 8 teaspoons of concentrate into 1 gallon of water and carefully pouring the solution into the potting soil until the top inch is drenched. Repeat treatment when necessary, but no more often than once a week.

Preventing Soil Maggots

Keep adult fungus gnats away from container plants by allowing the top of the potting soil to completely dry before you water again. Remove and discard all dead or decaying plant material. Spraying the top of the soil with a pyrethrin-based aerosol every two to four days for two to three weeks will help kill the adult females before they can lay eggs.