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Why Are Maggots Falling From My Ceiling?

On a recent climbing trip, I was enjoying some breakfast when I heard a faint plop. I looked to my left and saw a small white critter wriggling on the chair beside me. I wondered if my mind was playing tricks on me. My suspicions were confirmed a few moments later with a second plop. I am sure I am not the only one to ever wonder, why are maggots falling from my ceiling.

Maggots vs Grubs

One of the first questions to answer in this less-than-appetizing investigation is what the nature of the falling critter is. Maggots refer to fly larvae and grubs refer to beetle larvae. Both are the freshly hatched versions of the insects in question, but they mean different things. The place to start is in looking for prolegs (fleshy legs). It is important to note if they are present and where they are.

Fleshy Legs On Abdomen

If the prolegs are present on the abdomen, it comes down to a simple counting of pairs. If there are more than 5 pairs, it is sawfly larvae. For 5 or fewer, it is one of the following:

  • caterpillar
  • looper
  • inchworm

Thoracic Legs

If the legs are up by the head, the next question is how long they are. If they are long legs, it is one of the following:

If the thoracic legs are short and nubby it is:

No Legs

If there are no legs present on the creature, then we are dealing with a fly. Knowing what kind of fly is going to be dependent on what the larvae are crawling out of. This list could be quite extensive, but moth flies will come from drains, phorid flies will come from sewer pipes, blowflies will come from decaying bodies, etc.

Taking Out the Guesswork

Identification of the larval stage can be quite challenging even for those that know them well. In addition to looking at the body, it is essential to be able to draw in the surrounding context such as:

  • Adults present or known to be in the area
  • location
  • Source
  • time of year

If you have any larvae surprise you (hopefully not falling from the ceiling during mealtime!), just connect with our pest experts at Rove Pest Control. We will get the situation fleshed out so it can be solved before the young ones grow up to make more.