What Do Fly Maggots Look Like?

By Chris Williams on May 23, 2014.
white worms larvae maggot

Indian Meal Moth larva

white worm larva larvae

House fly maggot


We’ve seen a couple of flies inside the house and now I’m finding these white worms crawling up the walls in my kitchen! Do you think flies are breeding in our food somewhere? What do fly maggots look like?—A. D., Amesbury, MA


No, I don’t think flies are breeding in your food, but I think other insects might be.

I know that your “worms” are not fly larvae (maggots) because fly maggots are wingless and cannot crawl. You don’t say how big your worms are, but a full-grown house fly maggot is still small, about ¼ inches long. It’s white and has no head or legs; one end is wider than the other which tapers to a point. The maggot has two clawlike hooks at the tapered end (which you can only see under magnification) that it uses for feeding and pulling itself along.

Fly maggots are usually found burrowing in their food material which is always something warm, moist, rotting, and disgusting, like garbage or animal (or human) poop. When they’re ready to pupate and turn into flies, the maggots leave the food material and crawl off to a drier place.

Because your worms are crawling around in the kitchen, I think you might have an infestation of stored food insects. If the worms are whitish, about ½ inch long, and have a brown head and short legs, then I think you have an infestation of Indian meal moths and you are seeing the larval stage (see Those White Worms Are Indian Meal Moths).

These little moths are pretty common pests in home kitchens. Their larvae feed in a wide variety of foods ranging from dry pet food to cereals, flour, bread, spices, nuts, dried fruit, and much more. Like fly maggots, the moth larvae leave the food when they are full-grown and look for a hidden place to pupate. If they are Indian meal moth larvae, you will soon see small copper and gray moths flitting about your kitchen.

Because Indian meal moth larvae can feed on practically anything in your kitchen, finding the infested foods can be a job. I recommend that you contact an exterminator to first confirm the identification of your “worms,” and then to help find and eliminate the source (or sources) of the infestation. As to why you’ve been seeing flies in your home, there could be many explanations. An exterminator can solve that problem, too. Give Colonial a call today.


Maggot photo: Pavel Krok (Own work (own photo)) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Indian meal moth larva photo: Pudding4brains (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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