July 30, 2011 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Oh god. Dead bird outside my door, covered in heaps of maggots. HELP.

There's a dead bird outside my door. I noticed it yesterday when I got home but I forgot about it until I needed to leave home this morning. I went to get a piece of cardboard to sweep it into a bag so I could dispose of it and when I touched the bird, a whole load of maggots crawled onto the cardboard.

I freaked out and dropped the cardboard. The bird, cardboard, and maggots are sitting outside my apartment door.

I live in a basement apartment on my own. My landlords, who live upstairs, are away until tomorrow morning.

Since I'm fairly new to this city, I don't know a huge number of people and the 3 people who live close to me aren't home/are at work. I don't have a broom or dustpan, just that little piece of cardboard that is now covered with maggots.

How the hell do I get rid of them/clear out the area?

Please help.
posted by gursky to Home & Garden (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Note: just called 2 pest control companies as a last resort (i.e. can I pay to have someone clean up this mess?) and neither has people on duty today. NO IDEA what to do.
posted by gursky at 1:32 PM on July 30, 2011

Dump bleach on the mess. Go to the store and buy a dustpan or shovel, and some trash bags.
posted by rtha at 1:35 PM on July 30, 2011

Response by poster: I know it's not that big a deal but I am beyond creeped out. I am not great at dealing with creepy-crawlies.

I don't have any bleach. Will the bleach definitely kill them? If so, I can probably get to the store without touching them, and then come back and deal with it.
posted by gursky at 1:36 PM on July 30, 2011

Best answer: Go buy a shovel with a flat blade. Use said shovel to pick up the bird/maggots/etc. Dump into a trash bag which you've previously opened up. Tie the bag shut and throw it away. Take a long hot shower with a glass of wine.

If you live in San Francisco, I will come by after work and do this for you.
posted by mollymayhem at 1:36 PM on July 30, 2011 [21 favorites]

Buy a broom and a dustpan and then bag the bird. Throw it out and then wash the dustpan.
posted by Homo economicus at 1:36 PM on July 30, 2011

Go get 2 plastic shopping bags and use them as gloves to both grab and remove the problem.
posted by Rubbstone at 1:37 PM on July 30, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Needed a definite game plan. So freaked out.

mollymayhem: thanks for the kind offer. if i were in SF, i would probably take you up on it! ha. i am such a baby.

off to jump over the pile of maggots to buy some supplies....
posted by gursky at 1:38 PM on July 30, 2011

Response by poster: crisis averted. non-creeped out friend showed up and he is now cleaning everything up.

kind of embarrassed I posted this but I had a moment of "oh god what if more appear and then there are maggots in my apartment?"

thanks for the help/reassurance.
posted by gursky at 1:56 PM on July 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

Just so you're not worrying too much more, maggots really only dig rotting flesh. I assume that your apartment is free of random heaps of rotting flesh, so they will not be invading any time soon. They're also not particularly mobile because they are little wiggly worms and not multilegged scampering horrors.
posted by elizardbits at 2:17 PM on July 30, 2011 [13 favorites]

fwiw gursky maggots and other crawly things freak me out beyond my capacity to deal. I've managed to overcome my horror of slugs (due to ubiquitousness) and earthworms (due to helpfulness) but everything else, particularly any kind of larva (ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew) just gives me the screaming meemies. I'm glad you got it sorted; I just wanted to let you know that I share your horror.
posted by KathrynT at 2:32 PM on July 30, 2011

Dear gursky, I was once trapped in my room by a dead mouse right in my doorway and I made a friend break into my house and deal with it and help me while I cried. These things are awful and don't feel embarrassed.
posted by rmless at 2:53 PM on July 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

Gursky, do not be embarrassed. I often wish I was a little less ok with crawl and otherwise gross things, but as superpowers go, nonchalance about critters is all that was left when I got to the front of the line.

In the future, if you can't get a friend, you want a big trash bag and gardening gloves.

The gloves because you probably don't want to feel any maggots writhing, and multiple barriers helps with that. Although now that i've told you what it feels like to pick up such a thing you're probably not going to try it anytime soon. The big garbage bag keys you scoop the thing up and then the thing will fall all the way down to the bottom if the bag, so it's not near your hands.

Pouring bleach over the whole thing doesn't act quickly enough to kill all of the crawlies, and sadly pollutes your front walk.
posted by bilabial at 3:30 PM on July 30, 2011

If it happens again (or to someone else reading this): The dog poop plastic bag manoeuver is the way to go. Put the bag over your hand, grab the bird with the bagged hand, turn the bag inside-out. Voila, instant bird in a bag. Then you just tie up the bag and throw it in the dumpster.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:58 PM on July 30, 2011

Don't feel bad. I would have hid in my house till rescue came, for sure. I made my baby sister take out a tiny snake once, and nearly fainted just thinking about it.
posted by SMPA at 4:59 PM on July 30, 2011

For anyone else that may have this problem, another method is to dump a ton of sand on it- enough to c
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:28 PM on July 30, 2011

Ok, my phone took control and posted before I was ready! To continue: dump enough sand to completely cover creature and maggots. Then quickly but gently pour a bunch of bleach on the whole thing. The sand will slow down the maggots long enough for the bleach to kill them. Then use a shovel to scoop the whole mess up and dump it into something.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:31 PM on July 30, 2011

I would have posted a gig on craigslist: $20 to the person who can come make this maggotty bird and all associated maggots DISAPPEAR as soon as possible.

I'm with KathrynT regarding all things slimy and wriggly, and would like to adopt the phrase "screaming meemies."
posted by Orinda at 5:45 PM on July 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I love you people. Thanks for making me feel less horrible and weak.

I am so, so thankful not to have a dead bird and maggots outside of my door. I will never take my clean doorway for granted again. I promise.

Thanks for the helpful suggestions. Best answer goes to mollymayhem for offering to do the dirty work herself.

also, just for future reference, there is no way I would use bag-gloves to pick that mess up. no way. I would rather just stay in my apartment forever.
posted by gursky at 10:25 PM on July 30, 2011 [5 favorites]

I am no superhero, merely someone who is not squeamish about this sort of thing. Glad it all worked out in the end.

(Never never never buy porcini mushrooms, FWIW. Often maggoty. DAMHIK, IJKOK?)
posted by mollymayhem at 10:45 PM on July 30, 2011

Not to freak you out further, gursky, but depending where you are, there may be West Nile Virus in the avian population, and an agency you can report the bird to. If the carcass is still around in the trash, someone may come pick it up to test. And for others with this problem in the future, that someone might make your dead bird problem go away.
posted by Scram at 5:02 AM on July 31, 2011

when I was in high school, and my room was a mess, a bird flew in my open window and flew under my bed and died. (I had removed the screen for sneaking out and was not in the room when it happened!) I did not find the bird until it started to smell and the discovery was traumatic to say the least. Still can't handle any type of maggoty nastiness! You are so not alone and I would have reacted the same exact way.
crisis averted, I am happy for you!
posted by Pork n Beans at 9:51 AM on July 31, 2011

Pork n Beans, I am never leaving a screenless window open again. Ever.
posted by SMPA at 1:44 PM on July 31, 2011

FWIW, it's not really the maggots, but the flies afterwards....I had a bird die in an inaccessible wall space in an apt years ago. I came in to find maggots on the floor, and finally discovered the flourescent fixture full of them. Then came the flies, I guess from the ones I couldn't get to. Boy was that pleasant
posted by nevercalm at 8:52 AM on August 1, 2011

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