Most of us want our kitchens to be the pinnacle of cleanliness, so we know that the food we’re preparing will be safe and appetizing. However, it’s often quite a battle between storing and preparing food, and keeping the kitchen clean. When food gets spilled and not noticed, or stored for too long, problems can arise.
That might lead to you finding unwelcome pests, such as maggots, making themselves at home in your kitchen. If you hate that idea, you’re far from alone – but why might you end up with maggots on your kitchen floor? How can you get rid of them if they appear?
Why are there maggots on the kitchen floor? In order to survive, maggots require food. Food that has gone off will attract flies, which will lay their eggs in it – and those eggs hatch into maggots. If there’s no food, the flies won’t lay, so you must find what they’re eating to determine why they are on your floor. Remember, things like feces will also serve as food for maggots.
Why are There Maggots in the Kitchen?
If you have found maggots in your kitchen, this is a clear sign that some organic matter has been left available to flies for at least a few hours. Maggots come from fly eggs, which can hatch in just 7 hours sometimes. They may be eating rotten food, bits of waste on plates or garbage, or animal feces.
The most likely explanation in a kitchen is rotting or forgotten food – but if you have a pet that is not good at toileting in the correct places, check for feces too. Otherwise, you should look for:
- Wrappers that have not been cleaned before being disposed of (especially if they have meat residue in them)
- Food stuck on forgotten plates or bowls
- Rotten fruits or vegetables
- Rotten meat
- Old dairy
- Dead pests (e.g. rats, mice, especially if you have set traps) that have started to rot
It’s really important to identify the source of maggot food, because this is where most of the maggots will be. You also need to make sure you completely get rid of it, or more flies will find it and lay more eggs, restarting the cycle.
In most cases, flies will target meat over vegetable matter, so be particularly aware of things like forgotten cat/dog food, meat packaging, and dead pests. However, in some cases, other old food will also provide a viable source of nutrients for the maggots.
How Do You Get Rid of Maggots in the Kitchen?
For most people, getting rid of the maggots is the ultimate priority. You will probably want to kill them before you do anything else, so there’s no risk of them crawling on you. There are quite a few ways you can do this, including using boiling water, insecticides, boric acid, and dishwasher soap.
If you want to use boiling water to kill the maggots, start by taking a panful of water and bringing it to the boil. Next, pour it on the maggots. This is a simple and very effective method of killing them, but you must make sure that it’s okay to put hot water on your kitchen floor before you use it.
If your kitchen floor is hardwood or laminate, you should avoid putting a lot of water on it. Neither of these floor types copes well with being soaked, especially with boiling water, which could cause the laminate to peel or the hardwood to warp and twist.
Another option is to use an insecticide, although this may be overkill for most maggot infestations. Since maggots are fairly easy to kill, you might want to avoid spraying strong chemicals in your home, especially if you have pets or children.
Alternatively, boric acid can be a very effective way of killing maggots. This is a powder that you can sprinkle on the maggots. Completely cover them in the powder, and wait for a few minutes. The powder should kill the maggots quickly. When they are dead, sweep and vacuum the area thoroughly. Don’t leave boric acid down.
A final option is plain dishwasher soap. Simply drizzle the soap across the maggots and wait for a few minutes, and then sweep up the infestation and mop the area to clean it.
How Do You Stop Maggots from Getting Into Your Kitchen?
Cleanliness is your biggest weapon in the fight against maggots. If there is no food available, the eggs will never be laid in your kitchen. That means being vigilant about kitchen clean-up, especially when it comes to things like meat and dairy. If you’ve got rodent traps down, check them daily and dispose of any kills.
You should make efforts to rinse out all packets and tins that have contained meat before putting them in the garbage or recycling. That means pet food packets as well as human food packets. Opened meat should also be covered, as flies will lay in it even if it’s not rotten.
It’s best to dispose of old food on an outdoor compost heap or in a sealed container in your garbage, as open containers of moldy food will often attract flies looking to lay eggs.
Maggot eggs are small, oval, and white. If you see any food with eggs in it, wash them down the sink and dispose of the food in an outdoor bin immediately.
You should also try to keep flies out of your home, especially in the summer, when there are far greater numbers around. Installing fly screens and keeping all food covered will often be sufficient, but make sure this is combined with getting rid of food waste and keeping your garbage can clean.
If there are maggots on your kitchen floor, there’s a high chance that you have left food out in the room. You need to address this as quickly as possible. Meat will be the most likely culprit, but flies may also lay on rotting vegetables, dead rodents, feces, or other organic matter that they find.