If you’ve ever opened up your garbage can and spotted hundreds of “tiny white worms” writhing about, chances are they were not worms. Those nasty little creatures are called “maggots.” Maggots are the larval phase of insects, most notably flies. While it is possible for maggots to hatch just about anywhere, it is quite common to find them in trash, both indoors and outdoors.
From major cities to rural towns, maggots typically come from the common housefly, beetles, and moths. The insect lays its eggs in garbage or some other rotting, moist material such as a dead animal and in roughly 8 to 20 hours, the eggs hatch, releasing hundreds of tiny larvae. The tiny larvae typically measures ¼ to ½ of an inch. The larvae are usually creamy white to bright white in color.
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Maggot infestations can be quite dangerous as maggots can burrow into the skin and the intestines and cause damage to vital organs. They can also cause lesions. If you have an infestation and you are trying to get rid of maggots, spraying with insecticide, dousing them with hydrochloric acid or pouring salt over them just won’t work. Maggots are smart, tough, and they are born with ferocious appetites for rotting material.
Maggots have to feed from several days up to several weeks, which is why they are not too eager to leave their birthplace. After they are done feeding (and only when they are done feeding), they will migrate to a dry place, typically outdoors, to hatch into the adult fly, beetle, or moth. So the only way to get rid of them sooner is to kill them.
The first thing you should do to get rid of maggots is get rid of their source of food. This means the trash, the dead animal or other rotting material. One of the best poisons for maggot is permethrin. Permethrin kills maggots and any other insects on contact. This synthetic chemical is a neurotoxin that works by disabling the neuron membranes. It is important to note that permethrin is dangerous to household pets such as fish and cats. Other ways to get rid of maggots include:
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· Pouring boiling hot water over the maggots
· If you have an aquarium and if you’re not squeamish, you can scoop them up and feed them to fish
· Powdered poisons formulated specifically for maggots
· Drano and hot water
To prevent maggots, the best thing and the easiest thing you can do is tie up all garbage tightly. Never leave meats or other foods out in the open for too long, especially when it’s warm. Flies and maggots love warm weather. All it takes is one fly to lay hundreds of eggs and in 8-20 hours you could have a full-blown infestation in your home or trashcan.
While maggots are considered gross and dirty, they are commonly used in the medical world to clean wounds! “Maggot therapy” has been used in the medical world since ancient times and it is currently being used in medical centers throughout the United States and Europe. Also called “larval therapy” and “Maggot Debridement Therapy” (MDT), maggot therapy uses live, disinfected maggots to eat the dead tissue on non-healing skin or the soft tissue of humans and animals. The maggots do not touch the live tissue. During the process of eating away dead tissue, the maggots discharge powerful antibiotics, which help treat the wound.