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How To Get Rid of Maggots on Your Farm

Rowan Burgess |

Maggots are an occupational hazard of farm life, the precursor of the adult fly, and nearly impossible to completely eliminate. However, there's good news: what is possible is reducing the numbers - with the added advantage of lowering the adult fly population.

Getting rid of maggots means getting friendly with what they are, where they come from, and what they need to thrive, plus finding the right products to remove them.

It’s a messy business but worthwhile in the long run!

What Are Maggots?

Maggots are flies in the larval stage of their lifecycle. They look like plump grains of white or grey rice until you realise they’re moving!

Maggots don’t spread disease in the same way that adult flies do, and some farmers actually welcome them.

There are maggot farms in the UK, and one chicken farm in Cambridgeshire is trialling maggots as a protein replacement for soy in their birds’ diet. In some parts of the world, humans even eat them as a delicacy!

However, before you reach for the frying pan, remember that these larvae feed on rotten and decaying material, so they’re bound to be contaminated with bacteria. These are visitors definitely not welcome on the livestock farm.

What Causes Maggots?

Flies lay their eggs on a handy food source, so decaying matter, rotten food, manure, you name it - that’s the ideal spot to sustain the larvae when they emerge.

Maggots don’t have teeth, but they can use their jaws to mash up food, and the ridges on the outside of their bodies help break food down as well.

A lot of maggots are a red flag for a fly infestation in about five days, which is how long it takes before they turn into flies - so you must act with speed!

Three Ways To Get Rid of Maggots on Your Farm

Dealing with maggots on your farm is similar to managing flies; there are both active treatments and preventative measures to minimise the population in the first place.

Ensure proper sanitation

Have proper systems for waste disposal, including managed manure piles and secure containers or locations for uneaten food and dead livestock. All of these make up a five-star des res for maggots and need to be a no-entry point.

Depriving the adult flies of somewhere to lay their eggs will reduce the number of larvae and other unwanted insects.

Minimise the adult fly population

We recommend a proper regime to manage flies at all stages of their lifecycle, particularly the adults, as this is where the pesky maggots originate from.

Keep in mind that fly control programmes are year-round and not just in the fly season. They typically involve building management, farm design and procedures, and active and topical insecticide treatment.

Choose the most suitable products

Farmers must understand the fly lifecycle and choose the appropriate product for that stage.

The specially formulated Maggots Granular Larvicide eliminates fly larvae in poultry houses, calf and dairy units, and pig breeding operations. This product has a long residual and is safe to use around all livestock.

An alternative is Diatomaceous earth, a natural entrapment powder made up of tiny, fossilised silica diatoms. 

ORGAN-X-Desi-DUST Entrapment Powder inhibits the development of maggots by simply depriving them of the moisture they need to survive.

The powder is perfect for accessing the crevices and cracks in animal housing and is safe to use around livestock. It keeps potential breeding grounds moisture-free and clean.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Put Down To Keep Maggots Away?

A Diatomaceous powder is a natural way to deter maggots, providing a clean, dry environment that they don’t like, while killing any live larvae already present.

If you want a treatment that is both dry-based/granular and sprayable after dilution with water, then Maggots granular larvicide will do both jobs.

Final Thoughts

Getting rid of maggots on the farm is rather like getting rid of adult flies – a constant war of attrition. 

Maggots are merely one element of the fly lifecycle, so their elimination should form part of a comprehensive insect control year-round programme - not just in the warmer months.

Understanding the lifecycle of flies and when and how they breed makes it easier to adapt farm design and implement structural changes, making your farm a less desirable residence.

Part of any insect management protocol (and this includes maggots!) is proactive treatment and control, using the right products proven to work. 

Dalton Engineering stocks a comprehensive range of insect control products to manage flies at all stages of their lifecycle, whatever livestock you farm. Find physical traps, insecticides, larvicides, and natural products in our online shop.