How to Identify Maggots

Written by ehow home & garden editor
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Maggots are simply larvae of flies and may be found in organic garbage, on animals with soiled fur or open wounds, or more commonly on plants, especially on cabbage, onions and seed corn. Maggots can cause a lot of harm to plants, especially during wet weather, but once you spot them they've already done their damage. Better luck with prevention next time. Here's how to identify them.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Look for maggots on the roots and other underground areas of plants. Maggots live in any moist location and may be found in moist soil where decaying organic material is available.

  2. 2

    Check for maggots in your garbage and areas with decaying leaves or other organic material around your garden or plants if you are concerned that maggots may be eating your plants.

  3. 3

    Look for small larvae that are typically no longer than the width of a fingernail. Maggots are segmented but may be too small for you to notice any differentiation in body parts.

  4. 4

    Observe the insect's color. Maggots are typically white or light yellow, but some varieties may have spots of black at the head or underbelly.

  5. 5

    Touch the insect lightly to check for consistency. Maggots are soft and pliable to the touch. They are larvae, not fully developed insects, so they don't have a hard exoskeleton.

  6. 6

    Check for maggots on animals in places where they have soiled fur, matted excrement, open wounds or infection. Maggots may be slightly embedded in the fur or flesh and more difficult to see.

  7. 7

    Use preventive measures to ensure eradication before maggots damage your plants. If you find maggots, they have likely already eaten some of the roots of your plants and the plants may die as a result. Prevent maggots before you find them to ensure that your plants are healthy.

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