Want to know what a maggot infestation looks like? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Below is a list of things to look for if you think you have maggots, along with some pictures and video of my own infestation. If you have one or more of these signs, you probably have a maggot problem and need to take care of it urgently.
In this blog post, you’ll get 8 signs of a maggot infestation and how to kill them once and for all.
8 signs of a maggot infestation
You most likely have a maggot infestation if…
You have a lot of flies
What came first, the fly or the maggot?
Maggot infestations start with flies.
Flies lay eggs, and maggots hatch from these eggs a few days later.
If you have a lot of flies in your house or yard, it’s because there’s food there for them to eat or food for their maggots to eat, so you can bet they’re laying eggs there.
It only takes one female to lay her eggs and start a maggot infestation. If you see flies buzzing around an area, there’s a chance you’ll see or soon see maggots nearby.
You find fly eggs
If you want to know where the maggots come from, or make sure you have maggots and not something else, look for fly eggs.
Fly eggs are small, oval, white or cream, and usually less than half an inch (1 mm) long. Fresh eggs are shiny and wet-looking, but they soon dry out to look dull.
One fly lays hundreds or even thousands of eggs, so look for batches of eggs.
Click here to read my article on how to find where maggots are coming from.
There are hundreds of worm-like creatures
If you see lots of maggots, you have an infestation.
When maggots hatch, they’re usually white or cream in color and look a lot like worms.
During an infestation, most maggots come from the same batch of eggs. This means that all the worm-like creatures are more or less the same size because they hatch around the same time.
Or there are just a few maggots
You don’t have to see hundreds or thousands of maggots to know there’s an infestation. Simply finding a few maggots tells you there’s a problem.
If you see one or two maggots, they had to hatch somewhere with others. So take any and all maggots as a sign that you have an infestation somewhere and need to find the source.
Click here for a step-by-step guide to identifying maggots, so you don’t have any doubt about what’s crawling in front of you.
The maggots just eat
Maggots are designed to do one thing: Eat.
What they eat depends on what type of fly laid the eggs.
Females lay their eggs either attached to or near a food source so their maggots can start eating as soon as possible. And food for a maggot can be pretty much anything gross, like garbage or animal feces (poop).
Click here to read my blog post on what different flies eat, so you know what their maggots eat and where to find them.
If you have maggots, you’ll notice hundreds or thousands of them crawling around in a food source or frantically crawling around looking for food.
Below is a video of fresh maggots coming out of my kitchen bin to look for food:
From my own horrible experiences with maggots, I’ve noticed that they tend to crawl along the edges of floors, close to walls. This is probably for safety reasons, so there’s less chance of being seen and killed as they are exposed in their hunt for food.
And it’s each one for himself in maggot kingdom. Maggots don’t stick together but rather separate when looking for food, so they spread throughout the house or area.
You see maggot damage
Maggots hatch to eat, and they eat whatever’s in front of them or the first thing they find.
Maggots don’t have teeth. They eat by scraping food with their hooked mouthparts, which they turn into liquid with enzymes and swallow.
Because all maggots do is eat, you will soon see signs of a maggot infestation by the damage they cause to the things they eat.
Of course, what they eat depends on the type of fly they are because different flies’ maggots eat different things.
- Cluster fly maggots eat earthworms in your soil, so they kill good earthworms in the area
- Fruit fly maggots eat fruit standing in your kitchen or growing in your yard
- And blow fly maggots infest open wounds on you, other people, or your pets and animals
You find fly pupae
Once maggots eat enough food to give them the energy to turn into flies, they form a protective covering and turn into pupae.
Fly pupae are reddish-brown cocoons with a developing fly inside.
If you find pupae near living maggots or where you think maggots were active, then you have or had a maggot infestation.
There’s a strong smell in the air
There’s usually a smell that comes with a maggot infestation – and it’s strong.
Every time I’ve had maggots, I’ve woken up to a distinct smell in the house (for some reason they always appear in the morning). It smells like food that’s gone off, but it has a slightly sweeter or different smell to regular waste.
Maggots clean up the environment by eating stinky things, like rotting foods, feces, and dead animals. None of these things smell very tasty to us humans!
On top of that, maggots have to process and digest all the food they eat. In turn, they release their own urine and feces, which adds to the stinky smell.
But wait, there’s a reason for all of this…
The bad smell attracts more flies, which lay more eggs, and this leads to an even greater maggot infestation. And so the fly population continues to thrive, unless you stop it.
If you smell rotting food and/or a strong smell of urine, you might have found the source of the maggot infestation.
How to get rid of maggots
If you have maggots, it’s a good idea to kill them as quickly as possible before they spread. Here are my best tips and tricks, and products from Amazon, that work well:
- Seal bones and food waste in ziploc bags before throwing them away in an outdoor bin. Keep all food covered and sealed when it’s on the kitchen counter, and put it in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible.
- Use bins that seal completely, so flies can’t sneak their way into the trash to lay eggs.
- Pick up animal poop daily, as many flies love laying eggs there.
- Squash stray maggots: Place a few squares of toilet paper over a maggot and squash it with your fingernail, until you hear it pop. Then close the toilet paper over the squashed maggot, pick it up, and throw it away or flush it down the toilet. If you don’t squash maggots, they often survive and become flies that lay more eggs (and cause more maggots) in your home.
- If there are a lot of maggots, spray them with an insecticide that kills flies. Here’s one of the maggot spray killers I use and love because it works fast and kills them all.
- Wash away maggots with hot, soapy water.
- Clean maggot-prone areas and your bins with cleaning products that have a scent flies don’t like, such as this citrus-scented hospital-grade spray or this commercial fly repellent. Remember that you need to keep flies away because they are the ones that lay the eggs that maggots hatch from. Here’s my blog post about all the smells that flies hate, if you want to know more.
- If you keep on getting maggots in your bin, indoors or outside, place these garbage guards in your trash cans. The guards last up to 4 months and kill all maggots, flies, and other insects. Be sure to put the guards where animals and children can’t get them.