Maggots – 20 Effective Ways To Get Rid of These Tiny Creatures

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. These disgusting, eerie little larvae act as nature's recyclers to break down rotting food and decaying flesh!

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 repellent, 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.

20 Home Remedies 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:


Boiling Water

boiling water

Pan Of Boiling Water On Hot Burner

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.


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.


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.


Organic Drains

Use organic drain cleaners to clean your drains.


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.


Control Adults Flies

Controlling the number of adult flies around you will also control the maggots. For controlling flies, fly swatters can be used. If the fly problem is quite significant, you can resort to pesticides or fly traps. But keep in mind, different flies require different methods of controlling them.


Beer Trap

This is a great method to attract maggots and kill them. Set out a lamp and place a dish of beer in a position which is easily accessible to the maggots. The maggots will crawl into the dish and eventually drown and die.


Steam iron

Hold a steam iron close to the maggots and then hit the steam button. The steam from the steam iron will immediately kill the maggots.


Burn the Maggots

Use a lighter, gasoline or blow torch to burn them down.


Drown the maggots

Maggots can also be collected and drowned in oil, gasoline, kerosene or any other fluids.


Boiling Water With Vinegar

If you suspect the presence of maggots in your garbage disposal, pour hot boiling water with vinegar into the sink after cleaning out the garbage disposal.



Pour Bleach or lice shampoo on maggots.


Hair Spray

Spray antiperspirant or hair spray on maggots.


Powdered Lime

Powdered lime, when poured on maggots, will kill them.


Use Vacuum

Vacuum the maggots and place them in a sealed plastic bag and throw them away.

Chemical Methods to Kill Maggots



For maggots, the permethrin is most widely used chemical which is the most effective in destroying their infestation. This pesticide is considered to be safe and green. However, keep in mind all such pesticides are mildly toxic.

Method Of Use:

Clean the area for the stench created by the maggots by spraying the area with an odor removal spray. Doing this will neutralise the smell when you begin removing the maggots. This spray will also act as a disinfectant to kill various types of bacteria, viruses, and other types of microbes.

Cover your face with mask and goggles and use gloves when spraying.

Use a sprayer to spray permethrin over the maggot-infested area to kill any maggots that may be hidden. Many maggots have a tendency to leave their feeding area and can travel anywhere from 5 to 20 feet away, so use a sprayer to disperse permethrin over this large radius.

After this, clean the area by spraying water all over it.

For any remaining maggots, use a combination of pyrethrum and permethrin. Permethrin will prevent the recurrence of the infestation while pyrethrum will kill off any remaining maggots.

Permethrin Insect Repellent


Dog Shampoos

Dog shampoos contain insecticides like permethrin, which can be used to kill maggots.



This is another chemical that comes in the form of sprays and powders. It works well when used to control severe maggot infestations. This is derived naturally from chrysanthemum flowers.


Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Toilet bowl cleaners can be used to clean maggots.


Topical Anesthetic

Topical anesthetic sprayed on maggots will freeze them and instantly kill them.

Medical Uses of Maggots

Flies are very useful in the field of forensic medicine. Maggots feed on rotting flesh. Blowflies, which are one of the most common types of flies, are the first ones to get to a corpse.

Forensic entomologists are specialized in determining the time of death based on when the blow flies start to appear near a corpse. The maggots are also used to find out if the body has been moved around. They thus help crime-scene detectives to solve murder cases.

Maggot Therapy

Sterile Fly Maggots are also widely used in wound healing processes.These maggots break down and ingest infected or necrotic tissue. Known as "medical maggots", these larvae are used to debride chronic wounds like ulcers caused due to pressure, neuropathic foot ulcers, nonhealing traumatic wounds, venous stasis ulcers or post surgical wounds.

They also disinfect the wounds by killing bacteria with the antimicrobial molecules that they release and thus, promote the process of wound healing.


Maggots have been known to feast on living beings, including humans. Their dietary habits are disgusting which gives them a bad reputation among people.

Most people tend to cringe when they see maggots and avoid them as much as possible. But these creatures appear suddenly out of nowhere, dropping from the ceiling, crawling out of cracks, laying on the floor and sometimes even on the wound of your beloved pet dog or cat, or humans!

These wriggly maggots are upsetting, nasty, and vile and as humans, we definitely, don't want them around us. So it is very important that you recognize them and understand what they need in order to survive so that you can prevent their growth around you.

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