How to Kill Maggots

By: Contributors & Austin Henderson  | 
Are maggots dangerous? No, but they can be pretty disgusting, especially when found in the home. Thankfully, getting rid of them is easy. jaroon / Getty Images

Maggots are sometimes used in the medical field as a way of cleaning wounds and killing bacteria, but outside of the lab, maggots are not usually welcome critters. You might find them infecting your fruit and vegetable crops or eating the waste in your trash can.

Read the tips listed below to learn how to kill maggots and keep your home and garden free of these pests.


What Are Maggots?

Maggots are the larval stage of the common housefly and other related species. These small, white, worm-like creatures thrive in decaying organic material, making them frequent visitors in places like trash cans, compost bins and any area with spoiled food or rotting matter.

Despite their unsettling appearance, maggots play a crucial role in the ecosystem. They help break down and recycle decomposing organic matter, such as dead animals, rotting fruit and other biodegradable waste. This process is essential for soil health and nutrient cycling in nature.


Understanding Maggot Infestations

Maggots, the larvae of flies, often evoke a sense of disgust, especially when they make an unwelcome appearance in your home. Despite their recent medical uses for cleaning wounds and killing bacteria, these tiny cream-colored worms are generally considered pests.

Knowing what attracts maggots, like rotting food or decomposing organic matter, is crucial in both dealing with and preventing infestations.


To effectively combat a maggot infestation, it's also important to understand their life cycle. Female flies lay eggs in moist, organic material. Within a day, these eggs hatch into maggots, which then feed voraciously before turning into adult flies.

Recognizing and interrupting this cycle is key to long-term maggot control.


4 Effective Strategies to Kill Maggots

When it comes to eliminating these unwelcome guests, there are several strategies that you can employ. From chemical solutions to natural remedies, the approach you choose can depend on the severity of the infestation and your personal preference for pest control methods.

Here are some of the most effective ways to get rid of maggots in your home.


1. Use Insecticides

Insecticides can be a quick solution to kill maggots. When using these chemicals, it's important to follow safety guidelines such as wearing gloves and washing hands thoroughly afterward.

Insecticides can be especially useful in protecting crops from maggot damage. However, remember to read labels carefully to ensure the safety of your garden and environment.

2. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth

This natural dehydrator is an excellent organic option. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth over areas infested with maggots, such as garbage bins or compost areas, can effectively kill them by dehydrating their bodies.

3. Cover Maggots With Lime, Salt or Vinegar

Lime, salt or vinegar can kill maggots effectively. These substances work by creating an inhospitable environment for maggots. Using a vinegar solution to clean garbage bins can also prevent future infestations.

4. Pour Boiling Water Over All the Maggots

The boiling water method is a straightforward way to kill maggots instantly. This method is particularly useful for dealing with infestations in hard-to-reach places like garbage disposals or deep within trash cans.


Preventing Future Maggot Infestations

Eliminating maggots is only half the battle; it's equally important to prevent maggots from returning. Take these three proactive measures to make your environment less inviting and prevent future maggot infestations.

1. Sanitation and Storage

Improperly disposing of waste is one way to attract maggots, so good hygiene practices are fundamental in preventing infestations. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting areas prone to maggot activity, like garbage cans and kitchen surfaces, is essential.


Using airtight containers for food storage, especially for pet food and food scraps, can significantly reduce the chances of attracting flies and maggots.

2. Integrated Pest Management

Adopting an integrated pest management strategy involves combining various methods to prevent and control pest populations. This includes regular sanitation, using natural repellents like rock salt and employing chemical methods when necessary.

3. Secured Trash Bins and Compost Areas

Ensuring that trash bins and compost areas are well-maintained and properly sealed can greatly reduce the likelihood of maggot infestations. Using sturdy garbage bags and sealing them securely in trash cans helps prevent flies from laying eggs.

This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.