Despite maggots having beneficial roles in medicine and the environment, it’s never fun to find maggots in or around our home. Due to their appearance and habit of feeding on garbage and decaying flesh, maggots are not well-liked insects. These creatures spread infections to humans that cause internal parasites, which makes knowing how to use diatomaceous earth for maggots essential to your health.
Maggot is the term applied to the larvae of flies. While we typically call the larvae of fruit flies or house flies maggots, the name includes any fly larva in the Diptera order.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a powder created from the fossilized bodies of tiny aquatic organisms known as diatoms. DE with a high percentage of these fossilized diatoms is popular for use in filters, and food grade diatomaceous earth powder is used as an insecticide.
- Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Maggots?
- Using Diatomaceous Earth in the Garden
- Applying Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Maggots in the Trash
- Diatomaceous Earth as a Natural Insecticide
- How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Maggots in Animals
- At Home Maggot Control with Diatomaceous Earth
- Getting Rid of Maggots in Your Compost
- Pest Control Tips for Killing Disease Carrying Insects
- Tips for Avoiding Maggots Indoors
Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Maggots?
Food grade DE has around 1% of crystalline silica. When fly maggots come in contact with this silica, it cuts into their bodies, causing them to lose moisture quickly and dehydrate. When used on insects with exoskeletons, this powder removes this outer coating.
Using Diatomaceous Earth in the Garden
Root maggots are one of the most significant pests in the garden and these maggots are the larvae of cabbage flies. Cabbage flies look like house flies and feed on the nectar of flowering plants before laying eggs near Brassica plants. After the eggs hatch, cabbage maggots feed on the roots and stems of nearby plants.
Flying insects around your cabbage plants indicate that they are feeding on your plant’s nectar. To prevent a maggot infestation, sprinkle DE around the base of your Brassica plants to kill maggots when the eggs hatch.
It’s also possible to use DE indoors. Diatomaceous earth is good for potted houseplants of most types and it will limit insect activity.
Note: Because DE is a powder, we suggest wearing a dust mask to avoid inhaling it during application.
Applying Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Maggots in the Trash
Insect pests like fruit flies and blowflies enjoy feeding on decaying matter, typically fruit and meat. These food sources also become locations for these insects to lay their eggs, so it’s common to find these flies buzzing around trash cans at home.
If larvae live in your trash can, spread diatomaceous earth over any visible maggots to kill them. If you don’t see maggots but have fly activity near your garbage cans, it’s wise to treat your trash cans with DE.
Diatomaceous Earth as a Natural Insecticide
Diatomaceous earth is effective against many garden pests; however, if you want to avoid having an issue with maggots, you need to break the life cycle of flies in your garden. Cabbage flies lay clusters of eggs, resulting in hundreds of larvae feeding on the same plant until it dies. Use DE as an insecticide and repellent on your plants for prevention.
Mix your ingredients in a bottle and spread it on the stems and leaves of plants in the garden. Avoid spreading DE on flowers to prevent affecting any beneficial bugs visiting your plants to aid with pollination. Some beneficial insects may kill maggots and flies in the area for you.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Maggots in Animals
Diatomaceous earth works by damaging the exoskeleton of insects; it is highly effective against various pests, including ants, mites, bed bugs, fleas, and even parasites.
Food grade DE kills internal parasites in humans, household pets, and even livestock like goats when ingested daily in the right amount. Because DE does not kill parasite eggs, regular feeding is required to kill newly hatched eggs.
Combine 2% of DE with the daily feed for livestock animals like sheep, goats, and cows. Adult pets should have one teaspoon of DE with their food, with young puppies and kittens eating half a teaspoon daily.
At Home Maggot Control with Diatomaceous Earth
It’s possible to find fly larvae in various places in the house. The kitchen is the most common area where flies lay their eggs near food sources for their larvae. You may find larvae in the garage or basement feeding on decay there.
To rid your house of these unwelcome pests, it is essential to clean and disinfect the area in addition to killing the grubs. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth to kill maggots by drying them out no matter where you find them. Sweep up and dispose of their bodies and then carefully clean the location to remove any possible food sources.
Getting Rid of Maggots in Your Compost
If you compost at home using a worm bin, it’s not uncommon to find maggots living in the compost because maggots, specifically black soldier fly larvae, love feeding on food waste.
You might find maggots in your compost because there are too many ‘greens’ in the compost, or you aren’t turning the compost enough, which creates pockets of food waste that maggots enjoy.
Is it okay to have maggots in compost? Because maggots break down food waste, they aren’t harmful to your compost pile. Still, if you find them unpleasant or the number of maggots affects your compost progress, get rid of them.
Maggot control with diatomaceous earth involves sprinkling a layer of DE over the top layer of your compost to kill present maggots and any hard-bodied insects that land there to feed or lay eggs.
Another method for getting rid of maggots in your compost is to use lime. Hydrated lime aids in breaking down compost without harming any worms in your compost pile, and it helps kill maggots. Adding more brown elements to your compost helps reduce the presence of maggots.
Mix one cup of lime per 25 cubic feet of compost to help get rid of maggots. The other options are to add pine needles or citrus waste into the compost to balance out the number of green elements the maggots enjoy.
Pest Control Tips for Killing Disease Carrying Insects
When dealing with insects in the garden, sometimes it’s hard to know which insects benefit your garden and which pose a threat. Diatomaceous earth does kill chiggers, fleas, and a variety of other bugs. Fungus gnats are small gnats that have short life cycles and act as pollinators while also carrying seedling-killing diseases.
Adult fungus gnats often linger around the garden and visit compost piles, mulch, and the foliage of potted plants. Female gnats lay eggs on the wet potting soil, which allows their larvae to feed on fungi in the soil after hatching.
These larvae help decompose organic matter in the soil, but the adults are carriers of spores and diseases that cause damping-off in seedlings. Damping-off is a condition that kills seeds after germination. Effective pest control with diatomaceous earth just takes a few minutes.
To limit fungus gnat activity, treat the areas they visit with DE for maggots and adult gnats. Areas to sprinkle DE include piles of wet organic matter like mulch piles, potting soil, and plant leaves. Using soap sprays is another method for getting fungus gnats off your plants to avoid the risk of them transmitting diseases.
Tips for Avoiding Maggots Indoors
To reduce the likelihood of maggots appearing indoors, keep your kitchen clean. Throw away expired or overripe food and clean any food waste or residue on tables or countertops. If food like produce from the grocery store is left out, seal it in plastic or containers to prevent an adult fly from finding it.
If flies are an issue in your area, keep trash inside your home covered and remove it every few days. Keep outdoor trash bins as far from your house as you can to avoid flies entering your home searching for food.
You can also spread DE on your mattress to fight bed bugs and sprinkle it around pet beds to eliminate fleas.
No matter how much we dislike maggots, they are part of nature and somewhat unavoidable outside. However, this doesn’t mean you should ignore finding fly larvae inside your home, around your plants, or infecting your pets.
Learning how to use diatomaceous earth to kill maggots is essential for keeping yourself and the animals around you safe from possible parasites.
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