How To Prevent Maggots in your Bin or Trash Can

How To Prevent Maggots in your Bin or Trash Can

Have you ever wondered why maggots appear to come from nowhere even if your bin or trashcan was closed? Maggots are the larva of flying insects from hatched eggs. They look like small worms. A flying insect lays eggs on decaying matter which provides a food source for fly larvae. The life cycle of a fly (metamorphosis) is generally divided into 4 stages – Eggs >> Larvae Stage >> Pupae Stage (Pupation) >> Fly. The Larval stage is a three-stage development involving the 1st, 2nd and 3rd stage.

Larvae feeds on decaying organic matter such as dead animals, rotting food and plants, as well as animal excrement. According to research, a fly can lay up to 300 eggs at a time, and the eggs will develop into larvae within 24 hours. The complete larval stage before it undergoes pupation takes up to 60 hours depending on the fly species and the shortest metamorphosis is 24 to 36 hours. The pupation stage (development into pupae) takes up to 336 hours depending on the species. Pupation is preceded by pre-pupation which can take up to 144 hours. The shortest pupation and pre-pupation is 96 hours and 168 hours respectively. Temperature plays a role in the rate of metamorphosis , affecting the time it takes for eggs, larvae and pupae to develop. These changes are readily observable in the temperature range 16 °C to 27°C. Using 16°C as the base/control temperature, the time it takes for eggs, larvae and pupae to develop decreases as the temperature is raised from 16 °C to 27 °C. The development time for eggs is reduced by 51% at 21 °C. The time for the first and second larval development stages is reduced by 58% and 62% respectively at 21 °C, while the third larval stage duration is reduced by 51%. Pupation time is reduced by 80% at 21 °C.

At 27 °C, the metamorphosis rate of all stages is increased by a small amount (17% to 25%), with the exception of the second larval stage which is increased 116%.

This research tells us that maggots breed much faster in warmer environments than cooler weather. That’s why it’s advisable to store your food scraps and leftovers in a refrigerator to prevent rotting and being infested with maggots. Cold/freezing temperatures not only keep food fresh but they also repel flies. Flies cannot tolerate temperatures approaching 9 °C. The concept of refrigeration as a way of repelling flies (and thus maggots) has been applied by manufacturers of refrigerated trash cans also known as a solid waste garbage refrigerator.

As you are well aware, house flies are attracted by odours and food/plant aromas. This is a wide range of scents, not just from decaying organic matter but also from delicious food, living things, biological secretions and excretions. In addition to odours and scents, flies are attracted by warm temperatures as we have already discussed earlier. They also love light, that’s why flies will bother you during the day but disappear when the sun sets. In fact, a house fly cannot see in darkness. It’s immobilized and blinded as soon as you switch off the lights. Certain type of flies like the black fly and fruit fly are attracted to carbon-dioxide (CO2) which is produced from fermentation.

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