Do I need to worry about maggots in my apartment?
June 13, 2006 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Do I need to worry about maggots in my apartment?

There was a fly in my apartment today, and when I finally found it dead on a bookshelf, I noticed that it was near a small pile of maggots (about 10-20). My first question is: should I worry that the fly left behind other piles of maggots in some unnoticed corner of my apartment that will eventually lead to an infestation?

I am also a bit confused by this. I thought that flies laid eggs in food, which then hatch into maggots. I am pretty sure there were no fly eggs on my bookshelf, and certainly no food. So how did the maggots get there?
posted by TheIrreverend to Pets & Animals (8 answers total)
It's clear that they were eating something. It could have been the body of another insect, for example.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:26 PM on June 13, 2006

I'm pretty sure that maggot 'infestations' as such don't really happen. Just keep your house clean as usual and it shouldn't be a problem.
posted by atrazine at 5:33 PM on June 13, 2006

I'd like to point out that your definition of "food" isn't congruent to a fly maggot's definition of "food".

It is possible to have an infestation. It happened to me one time. I had a problem with fruit flies in my kitchen, swarms of them. I bought a "no pest" strip, and then I found lots and lots of dead fruit flies -- but every time I cleaned them up, there were more the next time.

Finally I discovered that my roommate had bought a sack of potatos and left it in the back under the sink, in a place I ordinarily didn't look. A fly had found it, and it was lousy with maggots. Once I got that out of the place, the problem ended.

But without some sort of major food supply like that, Atrazine is right that there won't be any kind of infestation. Except keep in mind that some kinds of insects eat things you wouldn't consider food -- like wool, for example. Or paper.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:03 PM on June 13, 2006

As a side note, I had the same fruit fly infestation Steven describes, and it took me weeks to track it down. Turns out they were coming from two sources: An old bag of dog treats in my laundry room adjacent to my kitchen, and an old package of saltines that was hidden in the back of my pantry. Got rid of both, and the problem went away almost immediately.
posted by Benway at 6:41 PM on June 13, 2006

posted by tellurian at 6:42 PM on June 13, 2006

There was a fly in my apartment today, and when I finally found it dead on a bookshelf, I noticed that it was near a small pile of maggots (about 10-20).

Actually those might not have been fly maggots but parasitic wasp larvae.

I once smashed a large house fly and found it contained a number of larvae. I don't think flies give live birth so my guess was that they were parasites.

I don't know anything about particulars.

Parasitic wasps won't hurt anything but their hosts.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 6:42 PM on June 13, 2006

Either MonkeySaltedNuts (does that mean nuts that have been salted by a monkey or...) has got it or else the fly's proximity to the maggot pile (mmm, monkey salted maggot pile) was a coincidence. The eggs from whence maggots spring get laid in something, I think universally, and I don't think the parent fly generally then expires on the spot and I'm pretty sure they have more than a one day gestation. Just what exactly did your parents tell you about where little flies come from?
posted by nanojath at 9:01 PM on June 13, 2006

I agree with MOnkeySaltedNuts. My personal observation after killing all sizes of flies, that only big house flies contain those maggots that seem to leave the body after the fly dies. They come out as a big pile. I don't think these are maggots of other flies, -only because of the difference in anatomy of other flies maggots I have seen-. I would say these are some kind of parasites as well. No need to worry and it seems you caught it in time.
posted by convex at 9:05 AM on June 14, 2006

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