The presence of worms is a scary sight for homeowners who have no chance of attracting them. These slimy white worms are actually flying larvae, and they’re quiet invaders that you probably won’t discover until they hatch. Worms are a common problem in the warmer months, and as long as there are flies around, there is the potential for a worm infestation.
Worms must be destroyed quickly before they spread. Fly larvae pupate after about 5 days. These pupae then develop into adult flies, which develop and lay more maggot eggs.
Read on to learn how to get rid of worms. We will explain how to kill worms naturally.
How to identify worms
Many people describe maggots as small white worms, but fly larvae can also be light brown in color. Worms, usually no more than 1 inch long, have one blunt end and one pointed end. The blunt end is the back and can indicate two dark spots – these are not eyes, but breathing holes of the worm. The conical side has a tube-like mouth and two small hooked front ends or heads. The shape of the mouth usually tells pest control experts what type of fly a worm belongs to.
Worms are most often found crawling around in food, carcasses, or filth. Identifying them as fly larvae ensures that the correct pest control method is used, and areas where these pests are found help confirm that they are indeed maggots. When in doubt, the University of Kentucky has a great resource for identifying insect larvae.
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Where do worms come from?
Maggots develop from the eggs of several species of flies in the order Diptera. Places where worms are seen are breeding grounds for flies. Female flies usually lay about 150 eggs at a time. These eggs look like small grains of rice and turn into maggots within 24 hours. Worms need moist environments with decaying matter, such as rotten or spoiled food, on which they feast upon hatching.
Worms often hatch, grow and develop:
- Moist or moist environments prevent them from becoming dehydrated and drying out.
- They fly faster in hot or warm environments, which accelerate their development and help them mature.
- Dark environments, because too much light can be fatal for worms. They use special light-sensing cells in their bodies to keep these larvae away from well-lit areas.
There are many attractive places for flies to lay their eggs in the house, yard or garage. Worms thrive around rotting food, rotting matter, or organic material, which explains why people find worms in trash cans, unwashed food containers, rotten fruit, compost piles, storage sheds, garbage cans, pet feces, and messy rooms.
Are worms dangerous to people or pets?
Flies are known to spread some diseases, but there is no strong evidence that the presence of maggots causes health problems in humans.
In fact, some hospitals practice worm therapy, where medical professionals use specific types of worms to remove bacteria from infected wounds. But remember that these are special worms bred for medical purposes – they are very different from worms in the garbage. Worms found in or around the home are likely contaminated with bacteria. Accidentally eating worms or food infested by them can cause bacterial infections or food poisoning.
Sometimes flies lay their eggs in or near an open wound on a person or animal, but this is most common among wild animals. As worms develop in the tissues of living organisms, an infection called meiosis can occur.
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How to get rid of worms naturally
Insecticides and bleach are two ways to get rid of maggots, but there are natural pest control alternatives that eliminate maggots without harmful chemicals. What naturally kills worms? Most homes have many items that can treat worms.
Here are five natural ways to get rid of worm infestations.
Citrus juice or vinegar solution
An acidic liquid, such as vinegar or pure citrus juice, is an effective dewormer because worms cannot survive in an acidic environment. For quick results, pour a generous amount of undiluted lime or lemon juice, or a mixture of three parts warm water and one part vinegar, directly onto the worm.
Allow the acidic liquid to sit for an hour or more before tossing the worms into a plastic bag and then cleaning and disinfecting the area. You may need to repeat the process to care for unhatched eggs. An added benefit of this method is that these products help eliminate the odor that attracts flies to the area in the first place.
Like other organisms, worms need water to survive. It’s no secret that these larvae need a moist or wet environment to thrive, and salt is a natural dehydrator. If salt is sprinkled, the worms will become dehydrated and expire.
Pour a large amount of table salt on a worm infestation and leave the area to dry for about an hour. This is one of the most effective natural ways to get rid of worms. After an hour, throw the remaining worms and eggs into a plastic bag and thoroughly wash and disinfect the infected area.
A quick way to kill worms is to use boiling water. Place a pot or kettle on the stove, slowly bring the water to a boil, then pour it over the worm infestation. This should kill the exposed worms immediately. This method is best for spots where boiling water is unlikely to spill or bend soft plastics—making boiling water a suitable method for killing maggots in a trash can or trash can. The process may need to be repeated several times to completely remove all worms and unhatched eggs.
Although less traditional, this natural way to get rid of worms can still be effective. In nature, many birds, frogs, lizards, spiders and other creatures eat worms as a source of protein, and this can be used to your advantage.
If the worm infestation is in a container or trash can, move it far away from your home to an open area where worm-eating animals hunt. Birds and other natural predators of worms must pick off the larvae quickly. Once the maggots are gone, clean the bowl thoroughly to keep future maggots at bay.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural powder made from the petrified remains of small aquatic organisms. When diatomaceous earth is sprinkled on worms, the dust sticks to their exoskeletons and dries them out. Like salt, this powder dries and kills worms.
This natural worm treatment is great for fibrous areas like carpets. Cover the worms with diatomaceous earth and wait for about an hour. Sweep up what you can and vacuum the rest, making sure to properly dispose of any worm remains in the trash. Finally, give the area a deep clean to prevent the worms from returning.
Tips for preventing a worm infestation
The best way to prevent the appearance of maggots is to keep areas clean and prevent flies from establishing themselves in the home. If there are cracks or crevices in window screens where flies can enter, repair them to keep the flies out. Small, consistent efforts go a long way in keeping flies and their larvae out of sight indoors.
Small habits like putting leftovers in sealed containers and washing dishes every day can prevent worms from appearing in uneaten food. Be sure to clean the litter box every week. Any food that ends up in the trash or compost bin should be taken to outside containers often and in bags with properly sealed lids.
Speaking of litter boxes, cleaning them with vinegar and water is a great way to keep them free of worms. Bury food scraps in open compost piles and add 2 to 4 inches of paper, cardboard, or dried leaves over nitrogen sources that attract flies.
Worms appear out of nowhere. If there are flies in or around the house, those flies have the potential to lay eggs that turn into maggots. Making an effort to eliminate fly breeding environments helps prevent maggots from hatching on the property.
Anyone experiencing a worm infestation can try one of these five natural ways to kill worms; any of them should do the trick. After the maggots are dead and cleaned, it’s important to deep clean and disinfect the area to get rid of any bacteria and make it less desirable as a breeding ground for flies.
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Frequently asked questions
Learning how to get rid of worms is useful knowledge, but I hope it’s not something most people have to do. Armed with clues about what kills maggots, fly larvae may be left with a few questions about how to deal with them. Here are the most frequently asked questions and answers about how to get rid of worms.
Q. What kills worms instantly?
Boiling water is a natural way to kill worms instantly. Pour the water carefully so as not to burn or accidentally spill it elsewhere.
Q. Is there a spray that kills worms?
There are several insecticide options available that kill worms, but these chemical sprays may not be the healthiest to use around the home. Instead, use a spray of one part vinegar to three parts warm water to get rid of maggots.
Q. How long do worms live?
Maggots live an average of 5 days before pupating and eventually becoming adult flies.
Q. What causes worms in the house?
Female flies lay their eggs in moist environments with organic, rotting, or decaying matter. Houses where old food, garbage or compost bins, or similar conditions are accessible to flies can attract maggots.
Q. Can worms climb walls?
Maggots are nesters that use hooks on their front end to get through food and material. There are anecdotal claims of worms climbing walls, but this is not typical worm behavior.