Help! Maggots!!!

Molly1971(PNW z8)March 19, 2005

I see a bunch of white 1/2 inch worms that I think must be maggots in my worm bin!!! I don't know what to do. I haven't put any dairy or meat products in there. What am I doing wrong?

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Cassblonde(5a ON, Canada)

First of all calm down:) No really:)

If the worms are white and thin like a baby redworm then its just potworms and they are good guys.

If they are chubby and look kinda like rice(now I won't be able to eat that for a while!) only a bit bigger than a grain of 2-4 times the size they may be maggots.

I don't see that either will do any harm..the maggots are just an ick factor we all hate..maybe because unless you're cremated they'll eat you too in the end. They will eventually turn into flies and go away.

If you've never put any meat into your bin they're probably just pot worms and are just part of the wormy team.

Hope that helps!


    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 5:11PM
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Molly1971(PNW z8)

Thanks Cass, I'm trying to calm down. Really I am. LOL
I do think they're maggots. Ugghhh Should I stop feeding for a bit?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 3:27AM
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Cassblonde(5a ON, Canada)

I know maggots can be very gross. I've had mishaps with chicken bones in the garbage in summmer...Yech!

I don't think stopping feeding will make any difference.

You should google "maggot" or "life cycle of a fly" or something similar so you can find out how long they stay in maggot stage.

Good luck!!


    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 6:17AM
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Hello Molly pot worms ,maggots or whatever it does not make eny differance , they all do your composting for you,having said that I do not think I would like them in a indoor worm bin. big flies have big maggots little flies have little maggots the big ones you can pick off and destroy not a lot you can do about the others above all dont worry it will all come right in the end Kind regards John

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 4:13PM
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nac_mac_feegle(Hamilton, On)

Maggots sure do have a !Yuck! factor, but they also have their place.
Stupid (and REALLY gross) maggot fact:
maggots in a wound will keep it clean and healthy. They eat the necrotic tissue, keeping you from getting infection and gangrene.

Ok, now that I've grossed everybody out...

You should be able to keep maggots out of your bin in the future (regardless of meat additions) if you cover all the air holes with mosquito or noseeum netting/mesh/screen. Of course, first you have to let all your new flies out! *smile*


    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 5:56PM
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dannie(3b NWO Canada)

Maggots will eat live flesh too. You don't want to know how I found out but trust me on that one.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 5:10PM
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sqh1(z7 NC)

Before you get too crazy (I know it may be too late..) go to Happy D Ranch's Invertebrate page and look at Soldier Fly Larvae. This is the time of year that they appear. They are NOT filth houseflies, (but they creeped me out too). They are very good guys, although you will have to feed the bins more to make sure your worms get theirs'. They seem to prevail when the bins are very wet.

Here is a link that might be useful: Happy D Ranch

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 9:56PM
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hi molly, they may be pot worms (see the thread below), I stopped putting bread in my farm and theyve mostly disappeared now. but check out SQH1's link aswell in case it's something else.


Here is a link that might be useful: white worms

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 1:59AM
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Molly1971(PNW z8)

Okay I checked out the white worms link and that's definitely not what I have. On the Happy D Ranch link the closest thing I could find was grubs. These are big things and slippery.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 4:06AM
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sqh1(z7 NC)

Molly, the grubs could still be Soldier Fly Larvae. They start out white and are big. As they get ready to pupate they turn a dark gray (look like little armadillas). When they get ready to pupate they will leave the bin and find a dry place to change into a black wasp-like fly. They cannot survive indoors and do not ever eat again, just lay eggs on decaying organic matter and they are done.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 10:11AM
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Molly1971(PNW z8)

Here's a couple pictures of them with a size reference. They're not as big as I remembered.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 4:49PM
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Molly1971(PNW z8)
    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 5:07PM
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Hmm. Those look an awful lot like fruit fly larvae. Or they might possibly be fungus gnat larvae. In either case, they are not harmful to the bin. Personally I find gnats/fruit flies to be rather annoying (as I have an indoor bin), so I made a cloth cover out of some fabric and elastic and now they can't fly out.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 5:36PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

i have the same issue, and it's definitely soldier fly larvae. the thing is, i never opened the bin other than to put food in there & check on them, and that takes about 5 seconds. my question is, how the heck do the flies get in there? all the holes i drilled in the bin are very small.
and, how does one get rid of them (OK OK, i know they aren't harmful, but i still would like them gone)...? once they become flies, if they can't get out will they just die in there? obviously i don't want to leave the bin open for them to fly away, b/c new ones might move in.

also, from everything i've read, it says "keep your dirt covered and don't add meat & you won't have a problem with maggots"..... NOT true. i did these things & it still happened. the only thing i did wrong was to add a bit more food than the worms could handle, and then it got a bit too wet.

what's a vermicomposting newbie to do?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 11:08PM
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sqh1(z7 NC) think for a moment. Where could those flies have come from in an enclosed bin? Right! They came in on the food scraps you have put in the bin, (as eggs), and hatched inside when the conditions were correct for them. Soldier flies are seasonal (summer) and burst on the scene when the conditions inside your bin are on the wet side. You can change this condition and the population will dwindle as well.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 8:46AM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

oh, rats-- you are right-- and i knew that but forgot (i think i blocked it out of my mind- LOL)... and i am letting the bin dry out a bit, so that's good to know that they will go away, hopefully. i know they are beneficial, but i want them to be beneficial somewhere else!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 3:23PM
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hufa97(z5 MA)

I bought a STAYWELL dog waste bin with digester. I have followed all directions but the waste is not flowing out of the side bin holes. Also I have noticed maggots are swimming around. Is there anything I can do?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 11:09AM
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So, what do you do:

1). in your bin to keep conditions unfavorable for them


2). to get the eggs off of the food we eat, before we eat it?!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 2:32PM
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Kelly_Slocum(sw WA state)

Whoa there, wait a minute! FRUIT FLIES will enter a bin as eggs and even larvae on the peels of uncooked fruits and veggies, but not soldier flies. Soldier fly eggs are deposited directly in or over the bin by adult female flies, who are incredibly adept at finding spaces through which they can fit to find suitable nusery sites, and who can fit through shockingly tiny spaces.

Any environment of decomposing organic matter that does not exceed roughly 105 degrees F is, by definition, suitable to these flies, thus, creating an enviornment NON-favorable to them is nearly impossible. The only way to reliably keep soldier fly larvae out of a bin (a detriment of the process, I might add) is to operate the bin, year round, in your house where adult soldier flies do not willingly go.

This is one of those cases where live and let live is the dominating idea.

Kelly S

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 4:45PM
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Oops! Sorry, Kelly!

How about a couple more questions?!

In the picture above, what is that worm next to the quarter? That is what mine kind of look like but some are more white-ish than others.

They seem to dominate the food pocket corner. I see my red guys on the other side of the bin near some dryer lint I dropped in! Shall I feed the red worms on the other side of the bin so they don't starve?

Is there a point where I should be concerned about the white worms (like if I see an over population?)?

When I open the lid, lots of little flies fly out of it - those guys are probably the culprits to begin with!

I have been seeing tiny little bugs hanging around in dime-sized clusters near the lid and on the whole sheet of newspaper I set in there on top. They are light brown and hang out in groups. Quick little critters and there are a million of them. Little turkeys run right up my arm (that is why i am curious what they are!!!). Thought maybe they might be common enough for ya'll to know what they are.

Thanks for all the help!


    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 8:54PM
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margaran(Jacksonville, F)


I think the tiny, quick, crawling up the arm ones are mites. I have them too, more when it's wetter. I've noticed they swarm the food before the worms are interested so I guesss they are prepping the food.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 11:44PM
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justmee(7 Okla.)

I know where maggots in my worm bin came from. I left the bin open this summer to dry it a little and, of course, flies got in. I just left the maggots alone and closed up the bin. They sure eat fast and I had to increase the food stock. If you want, you can squish them and they become worm food.

It is my understanding that the saliva of maggots contains some antibiotic or anteseptic properties as well as having some anethestic (deadening of feeling) effects too.
During the Civil War it was discovered that when wounds could not be treated for a couple of days (for a number of reasons) and maggots had hatched and begun to feed on the dead tissue in the wound -- those soldiers suffered fewer infections of the wound. Maggots were often intentionally placed in a bad wound or a wound near vital organs because the maggots ate away the dead and infected flesh and did a better job than the surgeons could have by trying to cut it out. The wound would be closed after the maggots had done their work.

They are creepy - crawly -- but necessary.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 12:03AM
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Is there any way I can keep these little mites from crawling up my arms? They must think I am food (NOT!)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 8:45AM
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Kelly_Slocum(sw WA state)

Tina, what in the world are you apologizing for?!? Questions are good; clarifications are good; discussion is good; life is good! Nothing in need of an apology is going on here (well, except some of Bruce's humor ::grin::).

I don't know for certain what the name is of the larvae in the picture, but they are not the larvae of Black soldier flies. They are too small, too round, too white, and too flexible to be our beloved BSF. It is a perfectly reasonably assumption that they are the progeny of the fly species that zip from your bin when the lid is opened, however. Any chance you could snap a photo of the adults? Consider, also, taking a few larvae and adult sepcimens to your local Master Gardener or Ag Extention office for identification. This is generally a free service and will likely lay the mystery to rest.

Regardless, it is highly unlikely that they are larvae over which to be concerned in terms of your health or that of you pets and plants. That they are in a bin of decomposing OM indicates that this is both their preferred food choice and environment rather than the garden feasting on living plants.

Maggie and JustMe's comments are pretty savvy, and you seem to have this whole worm bin thing in excellent perspective. Ah yes, all is right with the world!

Kelly S

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 12:42PM
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Thanks again Kelly.

Shall I put some food in another corner of the bin for the red worms?
Have a great weekend everybody!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 7:17PM
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I know that there is alot on this thread, but I am brand new, and need a bit of advice on this.
I went out this morning to add some food stuffs from my kitchen into my tumbleweed bin (which is elevated off the ground), and I had tons of maggots (I am pretty sure). The gross factor is medium, but I just want make sure that I'm ok. I have nearly no carbon products in my bin yet. It is all coffee grounds, moldy bread, and veggie stuff. Do I need to add soil to the bin? Do I even need to worry about it, or just continue what I'm doing and let it all sort itself out. I don't care about the gross factor (except when my dog tried to lick the maggots).

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 12:17PM
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Scroll down a bit to July 4th, I posted a 'Maggots - help!' message recently too, you might want to have a look at the replies I got, some of which are the same as you already have.

For what its worth, the maggots in my bin are already gone. I recently harvested the whole bin and didn't find one. I did stop feeding for a while. I think I was feeding too much food at one time. As a result, I also had a fair amount of water resting in the lower bin, and have been more vigilant about clearing this out as soon as it collects down there.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 7:17PM
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Okay, I have read a little about the BSF (Kelly, you rock my world!) and I still have questions:
I have a large planter that I have turned into a composter. My landlord doesn't want me to have one, so this is my sneak. Anyway, I am a mostly raw-foodist, so lots of kitchen waste. I started dumping into the planter, and covered it with waste paper. I'm pretty experienced with regular composting (kitchen scraps) as I started my first worm bin in my college dorm room. I have had no problems with this make-shift bin, until I found those nasty-looking BSF. Do I need to add manure and earthworms for them? I want to eventually use the soil in the garden. Any other tips for my make-shift, wide-open bin? (I haven't had trouble with rodents, etc.) Thanks!!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 3:25PM
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I just noticed many large maggots in my worm bin. I have them because I used some straw from the chicken coop. Poop maggots! LOL Im going t otry and pick out as many as I can, Removeve the straw and replace with fresh. And I will feed the chickens the maggots as they will love the protien! On my way out to pick out maggots..........yeee haww

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 11:19AM
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shawnharper(z9b SF Bay Area)

So, I've got some new friends (enemies?) in my bin. A little googling leads me to this post, which leads me to believe they are Soldier Fly larvae.

Photo in the link...

Can anyone confirm this diagnosis, and if so, should I take any action?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 11:59PM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

They do look like BSF larvae. There's lots of good info at the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: blacksoldierflyblog

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 12:51AM
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When I find these maggot guys in my worm bin.....its not long before all my worms are seems to have something to do with the heat in the bins....what can I do....???

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 1:50AM
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