Please help Maggot infestation

Shannon23(06770)September 3, 2003

I noticed the other day, that I had maggots on my ceiling, so we scrubbed the ceiling, chased around flies all day, smashing and spraying. (Thinking they were the culprit.) The next day maggots all over the ceiling again, we checked everywhere above the cabinets, found nothing. Yesterday I found the maggots on my counter tops, I than opened up my pantry (under where I found the maggots) and found a moth and more maggots in w/ the flour, cereal. ugh.. Why so many maggots and what are they?? I have seen a few moths before in this pantry, thought nothing of it.. but nothing like these maggots, I must have killed about 20 a day.. HELP..

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Not maggots but the larvae -- caterpillars -- of pantry moths.

You need to clean the cabinet/pantry throughly -- everything comes out -- then wash and vacuum the place well, paying special attention to cracks and crevices.

Also, check all containers and either toss infested contents or freeze for a week to kill the critters.

From now on, place all new perishables in tight containers, this because the caterpillars can chew through cardboard and cellophane, and even plastic bags.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 1:59PM
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farmersam(z5 NE)

Just a quick note that may or may not interest anyone.

The reason they were on your ceiling and counter is they are 5th instar larva looking for a place to pupate. They seek a concealed dark place away from their pupa food source.

So it is important to kill all these wanderers to prevent future infestations. Chances are some have succeeded in forming a forming a pupal case and will be emerging sometime in the near future. We went through this last year and found them under cabinent shelves, behind and under the fridge, etc.

We left some dried beans set in an open container and boy did they multiply. Learned our lesson.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 2:17PM
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stardazy(z7 OK)

I'm having the same problem. Maggots show up on my ceiling tiles, on the kitchen cabinets, and found a couple in a dish in the cabinet. Will a bug bomb kill all of them? I have a drop ceiling. Do I need to remove all the ceiling panels and check for a nest or something behind them?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 10:30PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Stardazy, READ all of the posts. They are the larva of a kind of moth that infests your pantry. You all have a big job ahead of you, but it is perfectly possible to get rid of this infestation on your own. As Jean said, store cereal, pasta, grains, mixes, AIR TIGHT containers, or in the freezer. I suspect you may need to discard some things. Other items that can provide food for these pests is animal food, craft items (pine cones, nuts,) spices, bird seed. I even found some of the larva (which do look like maggots) INSIDE a peanut better jar. The jar was closed.

Then the vaccuuming and scrubbing begins. Good luck, but truly, soap and water and elbow grease is the best solution for this very common problem.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2004 at 2:58PM
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I have those nasty little things in MY cabinets also. The previous owners were addicted to contact paper, which I removed as soon as we moved in. My aunt brought her ScunciTM Steam Cleaning Machine, and she steam-cleaned the drawers, but was afraid to clean the insides of the cabinets with the steamer, for fear that it would ruin the wood (the structure of the cabinets is very old - from the early 50's.) I used a damp cloth with a little bit of a pine-type cleaning product. Well, now we have been finding maggots all over the countertops, in my drinking glasses, and underneath the glueless cabinet liners I had placed inside of the cabinets. My husband suggested that we remove EVERYTHING, check all of the foodstuffs & discard whatever had been infested, and spray BLEACH inside of the cabinets. Would this be a good idea? As long as we let it air out and dry, then vacuum the cabinets afterwords to get rid of all of the carcasses (yuck!) This whole maggot situation has me so severely squicked out, that I am on a quest to find out what the best possible remedy would be. Anyone agree with my husband about using bleach?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 1:23PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

No bleach or other fancy stuff. Pesticides won't work either.

Bottom line: this project requires lots of elbow grease.

And this is now your new, gotta-do, not-so-fun weekend project.

Do this:
-- inspect all foodstuffs and discard infested materials;
-- store foodstuffs you decide to keep in rigid, tightly covered containers;
-- after all is out of the pantry (or whatever), inspect all nooks and crannies closely;
-- if shelves are removable/adjustable, take them out and inspect all edges as well as the holes the pegs fit into, or the ledges the shelves rest on;
-- remove all webbing and/or cocoon things you see from wherever you see them, including in the storage area, and at the junction between wall and ceiling, and behind pictures, and more -- be a major snoop!;
-- clean pantry (storage area) thoroughly;
-- return goods to pantry;
-- in the future, store all susceptible purchases in rigid, covered containers.

Next, go to the store (drug store; garden center; hardware store; or farm store) and purchase Pantry Pest Traps. Use as directed to catch any of the moths which may emerge from pupae you missed.

Finally, maintain constant vigilance because you don't want to have to do all this again.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 2:57PM
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I have had these creatures for the past week and did not know where they coming from. I would clean up, check and carry on. The yesterday i was cooking Lasagne and when it got to doing the Bechamel sauce i had lots of added protein floating in the mixture. When i looked at the flour store - it was infested with the buggers!!! How awful! Looks like lots of air tight containers are the only solution......

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 5:06AM
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My friend's light blew a fuse, after blowing lots of light bulbs. Then she noticed lots of "maggots" coming out of the light fitting. Now she's found "maggots" coming out of ALL the upstairs light fittings. She canÂt find anything rotting in the loft, but these things are eating through wires and the ceiling. Her landlords taking allot of time to come and see the problem.

Could this be the moth larva? How much damage could they do? Is it dangerous? Should she put a fire cracker under her landlord to push for a pest controller?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 5:22AM
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Grain/pantry moths are all too common. I had an infestation a couple years ago. Typical of what I see in the posts here. They were mainly on the ceilings, but a closer inspection revealed they were in the coats in the closet in the folds, in the dog food, in the bird seed, everywhere.

I removed all the 'maggots' I could find, but had moths here and there for literally a year afterward. Summer, winter, made no difference. I killed them all on sight. It was very annoying.

I still occasionally see a maggot here or there and dispose of it.

What I learned was that in my case it was bird seed inside the house that was the culprit. I was leaving it in the garage, but in the winter it attracted field mice so I brought it in.

Big mistake. When I visited the hardware store I bought the seed from I noticed the moths flying about in the bird seed isle. I didn't buy anymore seed there, but it can happen from any source.

Once you have them forget about any kind of insecticide, they are useless because they get everywhere and in very tiny spaces too. You simply won't apply the poison to everywhere they are.

You have to commit to elbow grease, as has been mentioned. It took me more than a year to completely get rid of them although I never had a repeat of the initial infestation.

As has been mentioned, once you deal with this problem once you will learn a few lessons:

-- All grain products from flour to pet food to bird seed should be stored either outside the home or in airtight containers.

-- If you ever see any maggot looking things in a product, dispose of the product ASAP *outside*. Do not try to salvage it.

-- If you ever see small moths fluttering about the pantry or closet where you have dog food, bird seed or any other grain product, toss everything.

These moths lay eggs which you will not see. They won't all hatch at once, but very irregularly in batches. All it takes is one moth to successfully reproduce to cause an infestation although it seems these total infestations with larvae on the ceiling don't occur except under ideal conditions (whatever those are).

It is also worth noting that it makes no difference how dirty or clean your home is. Every home is susceptible.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 4:43PM
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Going through the cleaning process now and wanted to mention that my wife found out that bleach, at least the kind found in the "clean up" products is good for rooting the little buggers out of the small, and I mean small spaces they find. Our pantry has removable wood shelves and the space between the shelves and the pantry wall seemed to be their haven. After removing all the shelves we sprayed the clean up product on all the surfaces and wiped down and repeated. My wife then suggested that we spray and wait a few minutes, and sure enough out came more. They even came from between the wood shelf supports screwed to the wall and that space is no more than a 1/32nd of an inch if that! All the food is in the trash other than a few items that are glass (unopened) or foil type containers and those are in the freezer. Anything that was in a cardboard box is gone. We'll let everyone know if our method worked; again we used the bleach clean up product to wipe down all the surfaces and then would spray it in the cracks and crevices and wait... The bleach we believe made them come out from hidding.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 3:06PM
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Those larva most likely were the larva of grain moths and the eggs that become the larva are in your grain products. Your Washington consumer protection agency, the FDA, determined many years ago that some grain moth larva, rat feces, and other contaminants in your food would not hurt you and it would cost the processors far too much to eliminate all of that anyway. The best defense for you is to keep all grain products frozen until you are going to use them and then you will not have these larva showing up. Wife just found some Flax seed infested with grain moth larva, somehow not realizing that it too needed to be in the freezer.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 4:56PM
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Weed(OR 6/7)

Lots of good advice here. One more thing that will help is the use of pheromone sticky traps. I got ours from Territorial Seeds. They trap the adult males.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 9:00AM
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i had almost forgotten my infestation and have gotten lacks. mine were little tiny beetles. i think i'll go out and buy some more air tight containers. air tight is important...i've had little critters feasting away in jars that i thought were air tight. i think if you heat new things like flour that you bring home it will kill any possible won't see them. even the adults aren't big. and there's something, maybe dolemite that you can safely put into flour and grains. does anyone know about that?

years ago i had some little carpet beetles that were equally difficult to get rid of. they liked to eat sweaters and other clothing. they weren't at all particular.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 5:36PM
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To heat your flour and other grains enough to kill those moth eggs you would have to cook that flour or grain. Air tight jars will do nothing except keep the moths contained since the eggs are already in the flour and grains you bring home. Diamotaceous Earth, food grade, can be added to your flour and grain products and this, if enough is added will cause problems for those larva. However, the simplest means of preventing these eggs to hatch and the larva out of your flour and grain products is to store them in the freezer until you need to use them.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 7:17AM
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I have been finding maggots in the oddest places - in the hall, under the rug, under newspaper I used to paint some skirting board and by the back door. I have checked bins, inside and outside but can find no source - help

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 11:31AM
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When maggots get to the stage they are going to pupate into adult flies they can travel a good distance so you may not be checking for the source far enough away. Perhaps this link will be of some help.

Here is a link that might be useful: About maggots

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 11:43AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Sarah, many flying things are a "maggot" at some point in their life cycle. Have you noticed any kind of flying bugs, moths, flies? You didn't mention checking your food storage.

Since this thread is revived... When you buy something in a cardboard box, like cereal, open it immediately and squeeze the plastic bag inside to make sure it's still airtight. These infestations almost always come from packages brought home. Inspect bags of flour carefully before buying. Be proactive about avoiding infestation.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 11:49AM
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I awoke to the horror of my kitchen floor covered by small, thin-bodied maggots this morning! Didn't even have my first cup of coffee before I had to start sweeping and flushing! We can find no source... they appear to be coming from the crevices around the baseboards. We removed the trash can, which had NO evidence of maggots anywhere. Checked the cat food bowl, none there. We have not had flies either. Within an hour of sweeping and removing them, they have returned to cover the floor! HELP!!!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 11:02AM
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