Feeding Nature
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What Do Maggots Eat?

Maggots sure are grotesque creatures.  You just cannot look at these fly larvae without a chill running down your spine. 

Their wiggly white bodies are a sight that you just don’t want to behold squirming about in your food.

Maggots are the larvae of various fly species such as Brachyura flies, houseflies, cheese flies and blowflies.  

Even though they look terrifying, they are quite useful creatures in our world because they aid in the decomposition of matter and they can be a valuable food source for various animals such as birds.  They are also used for fishing, in medical treatments and they are handy for evaluating the time elapsed since death so forensic scientists can have an accurate way to tell when someone died.  

 

What Foods Do Maggots Eat?

Maggots hatch one day after the eggs are laid and can consume foods the moment they hatch. 

As hatchlings, they are under 3mm long and they can grow up to 20mm in size.  Despite their rather small size, they do consume a rather large amount of food before they enter a larval or pupa stage at 3 – 5 days of age.  

Here is a quick look at the main foods these larvae like to eat;

 

Flesh

Meat is a favorite food for maggots.  Flies will lay their eggs in any meat source they can find, including live animal or human flesh that is exposed after injuries.  If these eggs manage to hatch in the dead or live flesh, maggots will quickly eat into the flesh and will continue to constantly devour their way through the food source until they are ready to transform into pupae.  

Maggots will eat any type of flesh found on earth.  Flies are attracted by all blood and meat smells and will lay their eggs in human, land animal, fish and bird flesh.  These worms can eat fresh and even decayed or completely rotten meat.  They can also consume meats that are raw and meats that are fully cooked.  

The only meats that maggots probably won’t consume are meats that are fully dried out since these do not have sufficient moisture to hydrate maggots.

 

Human Foods

Maggots can eat just about any foods you can eat as a human.  They typically avoid dry foods such as dry grain but will consume anything that has sufficient moisture.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are also safe from maggots since these do not have a scent that attracts flies but there are acceptations to this rule where maggots may even eat fresh plant matter.

They absolutely love all sorts of cooked foods such as rice, beans, fruits, veggies, and basically anything that you will eat.  Flies are especially attracted by smells of cooked cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. 

Maggots are however unable to consume natural vegetation such as grass.  

 

Wet Pet Foods

Flies usually don’t lay their eggs in dry pet foods such as dog kibble.  But they will lay their eggs in wet pet foods such as canned foods or even in dog kibble that somehow got wet.  Maggots can also consume all ingredients included in these pet foods including corn.  

 

Garbage Or Table Scraps

Your garbage bin isn’t safe from maggots at all.  These worms love to eat all sorts of table scraps.  They will eat anything you toss into the garbage as long as there is moisture in it.  Dry foods are usually left alone but as soon as moisture such as milk or water is added to these foods, it can cause smells that might attract house flies and maggots can start to eat these foods.

 

Compost

It is best to keep your compost bin closed because many of the plant matter you add to your compost bin can be a tasty meal for maggots.  They can eat decayed plant matter such as rotten tomatoes, potato and carrot peels, and many other foods you might toss into your compost bin.  

 

Diet Variations

Most flies only live 28 days.  If they cannot find a suitable food source in which to lay their eggs, they may choose to lay their eggs in odd locations such as fresh foods or the wounds of animals and people.  The maggots instinctively will try to eat any food source they can find since their survival depends on consuming foods.  Without food, they will shrivel up and die.  

 

How To Feed Maggots?

Feeding maggots is very easy.  You can offer them any suitable food matter and they will eat it.  It is however important to offer foods that are moist because maggots do require moist foods to stay hydrated.  Avoid offering food that is too wet because maggots can drown if they are unable to surface for air.

You can leave spoiled and rotten food with your maggots.  These worms are perfectly happy consuming rotten food.

 

How Much Do Maggots Eat?

Maggots do eat a lot considering their size.  The black soldier fly maggot can eat twice its body mass in one single day.  But even these hungry worms cannot consume food indefinitely and will only consume a certain amount of food per day.

 

Can Maggots Harm A Human?

In most scenarios, you are perfectly safe from maggots.  Flies are not very likely to lay their eggs on you as long as your skin is clean and healthy.

It does however happen that some people who neglect personal hygiene or that become injured fall victim to maggots.  Flies can lay their eggs in unprotected skin and sores.  If these eggs manage to hatch in your skin, the worms can infest your flesh and will start eating you alive.  A serious maggot infestation can cause devastating damage.  

By consuming maggots, you can also get bacterial poisoning.  Foods with maggots are not safe to eat.  

 

What Are Maggots Attracted To?

Maggots, or rather flies that lay the eggs, are attracted to all food smells.  They especially love the smell of rotten meat and will storm your home if you cook certain veggies like cabbage or broccoli.  

 

Do Maggots Need Food To Survive?

Maggots do need moist food to survive.  If these worms hatch in dry areas with no food, they can swivel up and die within 2 – 3 days.