Culturing House Fly Larvae (Maggots)

We go to great effort and expense in attempting to provide the appropriate diet to the variety of species in our care. Yet we actually have a self-renewing resource readily available to us. After extensive research by the medical community regarding the use of larvae in human wound management, the culturing of house fly larvae has been refined and still remains economically viable for rehabilitators.

Several of the many benefits of culturing larvae include:

  • short term results
  • volume production

    To get started you'll need the following supplies, consisting of items most of us already have on hand:

  • 8" X 10" section of metal screening or hardware cloth
  • Bait (we've found that partially cooked day-old chicken thighs or drumsticks with lots of crevices gets the best results)
  • small (approx. 4 cup capacity) plastic bowls
  • pantyhose
  • rubber bands
  • larvae nutrient base (see below)

    Begin by securing the hardware cloth around the chicken with rubber bands (to form a tube). Hang the tube outside for the day, allowing house flies to deposit their eggs. Avoid placing the tube near the ground to prevent other insects such as ants from gaining access.

    Line a plastic bowl with 1/4 inch of nutrient base. It is important to select ingredients that do not readily spoil. Add additional nutritional supplements (calcium, etc) as required by the intended species.
    Larvae Nutrient Base

  • 1/2 cup wheat germ or chick starter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp water

    Once the bait is sufficiently covered in eggs, position or hang the tube a few inches above the plastic bowl. The eggs will begin developing within 8-24 hours and the larvae will drop into the plastic bowl.

    Once all the larvae have dropped, position a section of pantyhose over the top of the plastic bowl and secure with a rubber band. Set the plastic bowl indoors in a warm location. Repeat this process daily if you require large volumes.

    You can monitor the development of the larvae to select the appropriate size and stage you will need for the species you are working with. The larvae usually reach a good size for feedings at around day 4 of development.

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