Maggots on Ceiling + How to Get Rid of Them

The Indian meal moth larvae are among the common maggots that crawl on most ceilings at home. Unlike house flies maggots which only crawl, the Indian meal moth larvae have legs. The maggots damage foodstuffs in the kitchen and tear clothes in the bedroom.

Cleaning the kitchen thoroughly with hot soapy water and spraying vinegar solution is the best way to remove the maggots from your kitchen ceilings. For the bedroom, tossing the clothes in hot soapy water is enough to get rid of the larvae.

Causes: Why are there maggots on my ceilings?

The Indianmeal moth larvae are the most common ‘maggots’ on ceilings. They walk to the tops and crevices in the walls looking for a warm, safe place before entering the pupa stage to produce an adult moth.

Indianmeal moths come into your house in two different ways. First, they enter through open doors, windows, and gaps in the buildings from outside. Then they settle in humid, warm areas with food to sustain their larvae.

They are likely to invade your pantry in the kitchen. Later, the female moth lays eggs that hatch into larvae, which appear greenish or pinkish. 

Secondly, the moth larvae result from eggs hatching in the packed foods you buy from grocery stores. Usually, the moths lay their eggs on dry foodstuffs. You can’t see the eggs with naked eyes because they are tiny.  The eggs hatch into larvae at room temperature.

The moth larvae feed for a few days before they transition into adults. When they are about to enter the pupae stage, look for warm, safe areas.

The larvae have legs to walk from the pantry and climb walls to reach the ceilings. They also hide in the crevices in the walls. When settled, the larvae enter the pupae stage and gradually become adult moths.

How to get rid of maggots from the kitchen ceiling

Therefore, the first step to getting rid of maggots on the ceiling is to do a thorough cleaning up there. There are no shortcuts to this, find someone to get up there and sweep it all clean.

Before taking any measures, it is important to get rid of factors that are causing the maggots. For example, if there are any dead pests like rats in the ceiling, maggots will form on their decomposing bodies.  Here is how to get rid of maggots on the ceiling:

1. Remove old  and expired storage boxes from the pantry

The first task is to remove the site where the larvae and eggs could be hiding in your kitchen. The larvae can chew through the boxes and light plastics to hide inside them.

Check the pantry for old boxes and cans you no longer use and throw them away. Also, get rid of expired boxes and cans from the pantry. Remove the shelf liners too.

Throw them into a trash can and dispose of them immediately away from your homestead to avoid reinfestation. Don’t empty the trash can in compost pits. 

2. Remove foodstuffs from the pantry

Check your grains, dry pet foods, pasta, cereals, and flours, and take them out of the cabinets. The foodstuffs are most likely infected with maggots. Empty the food into the trash can and empty it away from your homestead.

3. Clean the cabinets and floors

Cleaning the cabinets and food cans will help kill moth larvae remaining. First, vacuum the cabinets to remove debris lying on them, then deep clean them. Bring along soapy, hot water and a sponge.  

Take the storage jars and thoroughly scrub the inside and outside using soapy water to remove the larvae. Use a toothpick to carefully prickle the eggs or larvae from the unopened jars’ lids and clean them.

Next, wash the cabinets’ interior with hot soapy water.  Scrub all the corners of the drawers with the sponge. If you have removable shelves, take them out and clean the area adjacent to the walls where the eggs or larvae could be hiding. Scrub the peg holes in the removable shelves to clean any larvae hiding in them.

Rinse the pantry with clean water. To effectively remove and repel any larvae remaining, add some vinegar and peppermint to the water to rinse the cabinets. Let the pantry dry.

Vacuum the floors to remove food debris. Next, apply a less concentrated bleach solution to any larvae lying on the floors. Wipe the kitchen countertops and surfaces with soapy water and rinse them with a disinfectant. A vinegar, peppermint, and water solution would also do the trick. Let the floors and surfaces dry.

4. Empty the trash cans

Trash cans are notorious hiding places for larvae as they eat the stale foods inside. Trash cans also provide a suitable breeding ground for adult female moths to lay eggs which hatch into larvae.  To remove the larvae, empty the trash can immediately far away from your home. Don’t add the waste into a compost pit.

Add some vinegar to kill the larvae, clean the can thoroughly with soapy water, and let it dry.  You may want to replace your trash can with one with a tight lid to block the moths and prevent them from laying eggs in the can.

Common areas with ceiling maggots

The bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom are the most vulnerable areas to maggot infestation.

1. The bathroom

The moth flies also called shower flies or drain flies, are the most common worms that invade the bathroom.  They are attracted to damp areas such as the pipes in the sink, shower tubs, toilet tanks, and shower drains. 

They prefer stagnant waters to frequently running water to thrive. To survive, the moths feed on the organic matter stuck in the drainage fixtures. Later, the moths lay eggs that hatch into larvae and spread to the crevices in the bathroom walls and ceilings.

Immediately you notice maggots in your bathroom, the best action is to remove them before they further reproduce and lead to an infestation. To get rid of them, remove all the food sources they feed on in the drains and flush them. 

Scrub the moths from the drainage pipes using a wire brush.  Boil some water in a kettle and pour it down the drains to kill the moths living down the tubes. Alternatively, spray raid the pipes to kill the maggots in them.

Pour hot water into the drainage pipes for days until you are sure all the moths are dead. For infrequently used sinks and shower drains, pour hot water weekly to prevent maggot infestations.

2. The kitchen

Fruit flies, house flies, pantry moths, and drain flies are common in the kitchen. Fruit flies feed on fermenting fruits, while the house flies love stale foods or dry cereals to produce maggots in them. Pantry moths invade dry foodstuffs. The drain flies can also be found in the kitchen drains and sinks since they love damp environments.

Maintain a clean kitchen to remove moth flies, pantry moths, and fruit flies. Always cover your foods to prevent the flies from laying eggs on them to cause maggots.  

Keep grains, dry pet foods, and pasta in airtight jars.  Heat dry foods for about 5 minutes before storage to kill moth larvae. Alternatively, freeze them to kill the eggs.

Pour hot water down the drains to kill drain moths and their larvae from the kitchen sink pipes. Note that using chemicals like bleach for maggots should be done with a lot of caution because it may react with other chemicals down the drain.

3. The bedroom

Larvae can also appear in your bedroom closets and ceilings.  The flies that reproduce maggots love warm, dark places, and your wardrobe provides them with a perfect home. They lay eggs in the closets, which hatch into maggots. The larvae feed on keratin, a protein substance found in silk, leather, and wool clothes.

Flies are also attracted to dead decaying matter. If you’ve had a lizard or rat die on the top part of the ceilings, maggots are likely to appear there. Besides, larvae from other house areas can crawl into your bedroom and live inside it.

To kill larvae in the closet, remove all the clothes and clean them in hot, soapy water to kill their larvae. Spread the clothes outside to dry. Alternatively, put bed sheets or beddings in a closed plastic bag and deep it into a freezer to kill the larvae. Ensure your bedroom is always clean and dry.

How to keep maggots away from your ceilings

After removing the larvae, you must prevent reinfestation from maggots. Here are the best ways to avoid maggots from coming back to your home after treatment.

1. Set traps

Popular traps such as pheromone traps exist in online stores and garden shops, and you could use them to prevent the female flies from laying eggs that hatch into larvae. 

Pheromone attracts and sticks male flies to it, preventing them from mating with the female flies to lay eggs. Thus, no maggots result from hatched eggs, reducing their population and infestation.

2. Repel the house flies and maggots

Peppermint oil and bay leaves emit scents maggots and flies hate, keeping them away from properties. Spray peppermint oil in your pantry and other places prone to maggots invasions to keep them away.

You can also som insecticides like Raid to kill maggots by spraying it directly on them. However, have some protective gear that is covering your eyes so that the particles do not drop back on your sight.

3. Close cracks and gaps in your building

Houseflies and moths enter your home through open doors, windows, cracks, and crevices in the walls and reside in humid, warm, and safe places to produce maggots.

Seal the gaps and cracks in your home to prevent the moths and flies from entering your house. Since salt can kill and repel maggots, you can spread table salt on infested areas. This is a safe and a great way to get rid of maggots at home.

Reference: University of Maryland Extension: Indian Meal Moth.