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Maggot is the common name of the larval phase of development in insects of the order Diptera (flies). Sometimes the word is used to denote the larval stage of any insect.



Maggot therapy

Main article: Maggot therapy

  The use of maggots as a form of field improvised debridement has been documented since at least the American Civil War and is currently taught to US Army Special Forces medics.[1] In controlled and sterile settings, maggot therapy (also known as Maggot Debridement Therapy (MDT), larval therapy, larva therapy, or larvae therapy) introduction of live, disinfected maggots or fly larvae into non-healing skin or soft tissue wounds of a human or other animal. This practice was widely used before the discovery of antibiotics, as it serves to clean the dead tissue within a wound in order to promote healing.

Parasitic Maggots

While most maggots only eat necrotic tissue in living animals and are thus arguably symbiotic, certain types of maggots are parasitic, such as Botfly larvae. These larvae spend part of their life cycle as parasites under the skin of living animals. As a result myiasis can occur in the host causing symptoms from sores and irritating lesions to death. This is particularly a problem in warm and damp climates where flies multiply more rapidly.


As with fleas and ticks, maggots can be a threat to household pets. Flies reproduce rapidly in the summer months and maggots can come in large numbers, creating a maggot infestation and a high risk of myiasis in pets. Despite the fact that most maggots only eat dead tissue, some maggots, such as certain botfly larvae, spend part of their life cycle as parasites under the skin of living animals. They can be painful and present a serious risk to pets or any other animals. Humans are not immune to the feeding habits of maggots and can also contract myiasis. Interaction between humans and maggots usually occurs near garbage cans, dead animals, rotten food, and other breeding grounds for maggots. It may take 8-20 hours for maggots to grow.

A major problem also arises when maggots turn into flies and start the life cycle over again. Within a few generations the number of maggots exponentially grows and becomes a serious problem. Professionals can remove maggots or many over the counter bug sprays can be used to deter flies and maggots. Keeping trash in a sealed container and using a garbage disposal or freezing rotting leftovers until rubbish collection day helps prevent infestation.


  1. ^ Craig, Glen (1988). US Army Special Forces Medical Handbook. US Army Institute for Military Assistance, pp.510-12. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Maggot". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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