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Old 01-15-2021, 06:54 AM   #1
Vierville
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Default Maggots!

I just wanted to put up a warning after a really awful incident this week in which I discovered maggots infesting one of Baldrick's food hoards.

My three dwarf hamsters Nanuk, Baldrick and Norman live in my spare room, their cages up against a wall. During the preceeding few days I had begun to notice tiny maggits on the wall and ceiling in that room. This horrified me as I keep the house very clean - we have a cleaning lady twice a week and we clean up every other day, there is not even a rubbish bin in that room and definitely nothing that could rot in there.

I was baffled as they seemed to be appearing from nowhere. I even thought maybe they were coming from the apartment above ours.

I decided to do a full complete cleanout of all my hamsters' cages just to be safe but I honestly did not expect to find anything. I was horrified then to find in Baldrick's one hoarding spot a number of maggots that had clearly been eating his food.

Of course I threw everything out and disinfected all their cages and hopefully I will not have any more but it was really awful.

I usually spot clean their cages every day and do a more thorough clean once a week, however, following advice about not disturbing their food hoards, I generally tend to not disturb the areas of the cage where I know they store their hoard. And it was there that I found the maggots.

I have noticed a number of small moths on the ceiling in that room snd am wondering if the maggots could be moth larvae?
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Old 01-15-2021, 07:46 AM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Maggots!

It is possible. I have just had this issue of you look at my thread about moths! The moth larvae are about the size of a fat grain of long rice and to me look a bit like a mini wood louse or mealworm. They could be a different maggot though or you could have two things going on. It is the heat that makes them hatch out from grains in hamster food. Which is why I freeze all hamster food for a week before use as this kills moth eggs (which are too small to see). But seems I may have missed a bag. Assume you have central heating on like me.

If you suspect moths I would hoover them wall
And floor near where you saw them. As well as the cage cleans you might need to disinfect some cage items (eg wood bark type things or grass things) - items that can’t be washed in soap and water. I would bin the current bag of food (outside, not in the kitchen bin) and get a new bag and freeze it first. If you don’t have a bag that’s been frozen just stick the new bag in the freezer for a week but take out what you need daily - that should be fine.

Gross isn’t it. I did find a few tiny little “proper maggots “ near a rotting blueberry on a hamster cage once but just removed the area of bedding they were on and all was fine. So maggots easily dealt with. Moths can take more effort as they then lay more eggs.
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Old 01-15-2021, 08:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Maggots!

I had a pantry moth outbreak once and the larvae did hatch on the ceilings. The moths are brown, gravitate towards open bags of dry food, and are very easy to catch. We got rid of them after several months with the sticky traps, plus just catching them ourselves whenever we saw one, and I seem to recall the gerbils liked to hunt them down and eat them while free roaming. I wouldn't have thought fly maggots would hatch on the ceilings as they usually like damp, rotting food.

I usually check my hamster's hoard just to make sure it's clean and dry but try not to disturb it too much.
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Old 01-15-2021, 09:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Maggots!

If it helps I have not had anything for over four years despite leaving massive hoards for a long time- because I froze the food. I reckon I must have missed freezing a bag this time after stocking up at the beginning of lockdown and having quite a few bags of hamster mix. The moth eggs are there in the food, invariably, whether the hoard is left or not. They only hatch out of its warm enough. If the food is frozen first it kills the eggs.
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Old 01-15-2021, 04:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Maggots!

Thanks everybody, I think that it must be moths that are the culprit. It is summer here and we've had very warm temperatures for the last two months (around 28-32 Celsius every day).

I will definitely freeze their dry food mix as well as any peanuts or sunflower seeds I give them from now on (i started today with that) and will catch any moths I see. I've discovered for myself that they are not that hard to catch.

Thank you all for the helpful advice.
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Old 01-15-2021, 05:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Maggots!

It’s a pain. Yes it is the warm temperatures. The moths themselves are not difficult to kill. But the females can lay 200 eggs a day and once the moths are out and about they head for your food cupboard and can lay eggs in there. Hence pantry moths. I found out the hard way four years ago. So to prevent that, kill any you see and keep an eye on the food cupboard. If you see a moth fluttering about there it is more cleaning. With my current outbreak I have seen four moths. One climbed out of the cage with Pickle on his tube! Two on the wall behind the cage- squashed. The cage is outside waiting to be disinfected and has larvae and webbing in. But I also found one of the moths in the kitchen very near the food cupboard- it has drowned and fallen in a dish with water in. So my grim task now is to completely clean out the food cupboard, wiping all packets and contents etc and cleaning out the cupboard with vinegar (vinegar kills the eggs apparently). Just in case because last time the little buggers infested all my food and it all had to be thrown away. Most of it is in airtight containers after last time but still have a few packs of cornflour, icing sugar etc that aren’t. They can chew through plastic and cardboard as well.

You can get pheromone moth traps to catch the females. Didn’t work when I tried it.
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Old 01-16-2021, 12:54 PM   #7
Ria P
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Default Re: Maggots!

I've put moths traps up but haven't caught any. Checked all the cages but found nothing aside from very annoyed hamsters.
Haven't checked food cupboards because i don't use flour, sugar etc and pasta is kept in airtight glass jars and gets boiled anyway.
Have seen and killed three pantry moths recently and now i wonder where they came from.
My OH thinks they came in from upstairs windows that were jammed for years but have been sorted because he finally remembered to purchase a can of WD40.

Where do pantry moths come from?
Do they normally live outdoors?

Strange too how three of us here are pestered by them at the same time.
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: Maggots!

One article I read said January is the time they can emerge after being in hibernation and the warmth from central heating (or hot weather) enables the eggs to hatch. The eggs are almost always there on dried pet food but they only hatch out of the conditions are right. Or unless you freeze the food for a week which kills the eggs apparently.

If you‘ve caught three and no more, just keep an eye on things and maybe you’ve caught it early enough.
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