There is a good reason to swat that annoying fly off your food. Every time it lands on a new food source, it produces a special liquid to tenderize the food and lick up the juice. This means, the bacteria from wherever it stopped last, just landed on your dinner.
Their offspring has an even more insatiable appetite. Maggots- These disgusting, eerie little larvae act as nature’s recyclers to break down rotting food and decaying flesh!
- Maggots: The Emergence
- Life Cycle of a Maggot
- How To Get Rid of Maggots
- Chemical Methods to Get Rid of Maggots
- Medical Uses of Maggots
Maggots: The Emergence
The adult flies are attracted to the smell of rotting food, flesh etc, no matter if it is leftover meat in your trash can or a human wound or an animal wound that has not been cleaned properly.
These flies lay their eggs in the rotting meat, so that when these eggs hatch, the larvae have a sufficient source of food.
Flies begin their life as eggs. These eggs look like rice grains, which hatch 8 hours after being laid by an adult fly. When the eggs hatch, a larva comes out of it. A larva is a juvenile form of an animal which is to undergo metamorphosis.
This little larva is actually a “Maggot”. When they are newly born, they are very tiny in size. They can grow up to be half an inch in length, and are off-white in color, resembling worms- however, maggots are shorter and stubbier when compared to them.
A maggot has two ends, of which one is thin and pointed while the other end is thick and more rounded.The head of the maggot is the thin side, where a mouth with a hook is visible.
The other end of the maggot is thicker. This end has 2 kidney shaped markings. These markings are called “Spiracles”. These spiracles act as the breathing organs for the maggots.
Life Cycle of a Maggot
The life cycle of a maggot comprises of 3 stages.
Maggot or Larva
We usually see maggots in the first stage, when they are 2-3 mm in length and are lighter in color. They can grow up to 20 mm length.
– A maggot will remain a maggot for about 10 days before it undergoes metamorphosis to convert into a fly.
– A fly generally lays its eggs where its maggots will be safe and get enough food. Hence, they are commonly seen in rotting, old food.
The sole purpose of a maggot’s life is to eat. They begin eating whatever is present around them, but they prefer rotting vegetables, dead animal carcasses, and manure.
Once they outgrow this feeding phase of about 8-10 days, maggots are transformed into a “Pupa”. During the pupa stage, maggots migrate to a high and dry location. They make a shell around themselves which is reddish brown in color. Maggots stay in this stage for about 3-6 days while they are transforming into flies.
Once the development of the pupa reaches its peak, a fly emerges from it. The life span of an adult fly is about 15 to 30 days.
Some adult female flies start laying eggs right after emerging from the pupa while other flies have to be at least 2-3 days old before they can lay eggs. For both these kinds of flies, eggs are laid by them throughout their life span.
How To Avoid Maggots
– Make sure that flies cannot find their way to your trash can. Prefer wheelie trash cans over black trash bags, as these trash cans are better at keeping flies away.
– You can purchase a fly spray. It is an effective option to keep the flies away.
– Never leave food uncovered inside the home, this includes pet food for your dogs and cats. Always remember, flies lay eggs on open food and in hot weather, these eggs can hatch in less than 24 hours. Always store your food in sealed containers.
– All food trays that cannot be recycled, like the polystyrene food trays and other food containers must be rinsed before disposing of. This will help reduce the bad odor from the rotting food that is stuck on these trays.
– Always make it a point to squeeze the air out from trash bags and tie them tightly.
– Make sure you clean your trash cans on a regular basis. Using bleach is the best option for cleaning the bins.
– Any pet waste products, used nappies, and used sanitary napkins must be double wrapped before throwing into the trash cans.
– Avoid keeping trash cans in areas with direct sunlight.
– Always keep the lid of the bin closed.
– Citronella, an insect repellant, must be used in the gardens to keep the flies away since flies do not like the fragrance of this oil.
– Hang insecticide strips inside your trash cans to discourage their growth.
– Flies are also attracted to the items in the recycle bins if they are not clean. So always make sure to rinse the food cans, jars and bottles before throwing them away.
– As swing top lids can easily let flies in, it is best to have close fitting lids for your trash cans inside the house- especially in the kitchen.
– Install screens in all your windows to keep the flies out of your house. If there are any holes in the screens, make sure you seal them as flies can always find a way to come inside your house.
How To Get Rid of Maggots
Maggots are so hated and not tolerated that people have come up with unique ways to kill them and get rid of their infestation.
Here’s a list of 20 ways you can get rid of maggots:
1. Boiling Water
Using boiling water to kill maggots is a cheap and chemical way to get rid of them. It may seem a little ruthless, but it kills maggots instantly. This technique is perfect for garbage bins, trash cans or anywhere you have a pile of maggots.
Do not use this technique on carpets or on the walls, unless you have a quick method to dry them. Moisture in the walls or on the carpet could lead to mold and other structural damage issues.
Boiling water can be used by sweeping maggots into a bucket and then pouring boiling water over them. Alternatively, maggots can be picked up using tweezers and dumped into the boiling water.
2. Freezing the Maggots
For those who think throwing maggots in boiling water is cruel, pick them up in a plastic bag and seal it. Throw this bag in the freezer. They will slowly die in their sleep and their death will be painless. The bag can be thrown away in the trash later.
3. Rotten Food
Rotting food or any leftover meat must be sealed in bags and frozen until the garbage trucks come to pick up the trash. If you want to toss them in a trash can, opt for a trash can that has a tightly closing lid.
Empty you trash cans and clean and wash them regularly, to avoid attracting the flies with the smell of decaying materials. If you manage to get rid of maggot’s preferred place to live, you will get rid of them too! So, always strive to maintain utmost cleanliness around your house.
4. Organic Drains
Use organic drain cleaners to clean your drains.
5. Vents and Openings
Check for any openings in the foundation of your house and look for any unscreened vents and seal them away as soon as possible. If anyone around your house is planning to use poison to get rid of rodents, your chances of getting a maggot infestation will increase as these animals will try to find places to hide when they are sick.