Maggots are just another name for the larvae of a fly. Female flies, who live around one month, will typically lay anywhere from 500 to 2000 eggs in groups of around one hundred eggs each. These egg groupings can be found especially on piles of food, or rotting meat – such as compost piles or on animal feces or trash. The eggs are not always noticed, but the maggots, which range in size from three to up to twenty millimeters in length and are typically light grey to white in color, hatch around 24 hours after the eggs are laid.
Maggots will feed for a few days, which is why they are typically found anywhere food is readily available. They have a larval and a pupal stage, and within two weeks to thirty-six days, the maggots will become adult flies, and the cycle will continue.
Need to know…
- Maggots are the larval phase of flies
- Found anywhere they will be able to eat: compost piles, animal feces, trash, etc.
Dealing with a Maggot Problem
Maggots are easily identified, and relatively easy to eradicate. They are always found in areas where they will be able to feed on rotting food or meat, such as compost or garbage piles, or animal feces. Ensuring that these are not found in or near your garden or farm should ensure that maggots are not a problem in your area.
The main problem caused by maggots is that they are pretty gross. They look unsightly and the adult flies they grow into simply cause more maggots for a horrendous cycle that can take over an area, making it pretty unbearable. They are not reported to damage plants, but they are quite undesirable, nonetheless.
Types of Problems Caused:
- Just gross: Cycle of maggots —> adult flies —> eggs —> more maggots
- Ruin crops and/or compost bins; must start over
Getting Rid of Maggots
Maggots need to continuously feed, so the best way to avoid a maggot issue is to keep a clean area and avoid leaving out any rotting food, utilize containers for compost and trash, and promptly clean up any spills with soap and water. You can also use fly paper and bug zappers to get rid of the adult flies.
If you do end up with maggots, or if you want to try a natural solution for preventing them, plant aromatic herbs and flowering plants such as lavender, chrysanthemum, marigold, tansy, or the Venus fly trap, which is a carnivorous variety that will eat the adult flies before they can lay eggs.
Methods for Removal:
- Keep area clean
- Use containers for garbage and compost
- Plant aromatic herbs and flowers (Venus fly trap is a really cool option!)
Maggots a definitely a disgusting problem, but they are not one that is limited to the garden and are certainly not one you have to accept. With a little prevention, maggots and the abundance of flies they bring can be a distant memory. Keep your area clean, plant some herbs and flowers that the flies don’t like, and maybe invest in some fly paper – or a Venus fly trap, if you’re feeling brave! Just remember, there is no pest that cannot be controlled, maggots included.