Pest Identification: Maggots
Most Common Types
Maggots are the larvae of houseflies, cheese flies, and blowflies, insects of the order Diptera.
What They Look Like
Maggots look like insect larvae. They are legless and white or colorless, with underdeveloped heads and small bodies which resemble worms.
Where They Live
Maggots are found all over the world, and seen anywhere that houseflies or similar insects exist. They play a crucial role in nature by recycling carrion, rotting plants, and garbage.
Where They Nest
Maggot infestations occur where eggs are laid by flies. They are usually attracted to the smell of rotting food or decaying flesh. Depending on the species, the fly may deposit hundreds of eggs on fruits, vegetables, and dead or living animals. The eggs hatch into maggots in a single day and the maggots eat nonstop, increasing five times their original size in the first five days. Blowfly maggots can devour more than 60 percent of a human body within a week.
Steps to Prevent
In the home, maggot infestations usually occur in trash cans, garbage disposals, or wherever rotting food is present. Maggots can be prevented by first eliminating flies in the household, so make sure window screens are in good repair and hang fly strips throughout the house. Keep trash cans and kitchens clean to avoid attracting flies. Placing rotting food scraps in sealed plastic bags and taking out the trash on a regular basis is also a good idea.
Are They Harmful?
Small maggot infestations are harmless but certain fly species, such as screwworm flies and botflies, lay their eggs in open wounds on living people and animals. The maggots then burrow into the skin and feed on live tissue causing painful and extensive boil-like lesions. If these go untreated, death can result.