Introduction: Eco-friendly Maggots- FREE BAIT- Natural Food

Picture of Eco-friendly Maggots- FREE BAIT- Natural Food

Free-range chickens are quick to gobble down various bugs and worms. Coop-raised poultry can only benefit from a maggot-enriched diet.

Wild fish, farm-raised fish and many aquarium fish can't resist maggots either. 

If you're an Angler and you don't want to depend on (or pay) the bait shop for maggots, this DIY tutorial can keep you camping and fishing with free bait all summer. You'll never have to worry about an empty baffle box again.

Maggots are easier to raise than worms. They're a nutritious, natural food that's rich in protein. They're FREE, easy to manage and not nearly as disgusting as you probably imagine.

If you're serious about living off-the-grid, this information should help alleviate your maggot-anxiety and facilitate a more self-sufficient lifestyle. You probably already have the modest equipment needed to start farming so it won't cost you one red cent, either.

Step 1: The Story of Big Momma

Picture of The Story of Big Momma
Just to be clear, I didn't start this ible to gross anyone out or change the world. I haven't fished with maggots for a couple of years. I don't raise chickens and I don't have a pet lizard.

The inspiration for this ible mysteriously appeared twelve days ago.  It flew right in my back porch. It sounded like the usual noisy bumblebee, banging itself against the closed window, trying to escape.

"IT" turned out to be the biggest freaking house fly I've ever seen in my whole, oldish life. (Since I'm older than duct tape, that's saying something.) 

I proceeded to capture and jar the gargantuan fly. I wanted to show my wife and I was just plain curious about what species it was. I thought maybe the internet could solve the mystery. Then I got side-tracked.  By what I don't remember.

Here is The story of Big Momma.

Day ONE:

I remember my captive godzilla fly and go to check, expecting it to be legs-up and dead. Nope!  IT is a SHE-it and as active as ever. She's laid at least 100 1/4" eggs in the empty jar. 

That's where this ible really began. I figure BIG fly egg= BIG maggot. BIG maggot= BIG FREE fishing bait. FREE fishing bait= CRAP! I'm too busy to go fishing. :(

I toss a few tiny pieces of raw chicken meat into the jar anyway and leave big momma to her maternal business.

Day TWO:

Big momma, 48 hours post-capture, active and laying eggs on the chicken meat.

Whoever said houseflies only live 24 hours never met a housefly like Big momma. 


Big momma's family must have sent out a search party.

One of Big momma's cousins buzzes in and kamikazes directly into a sink full of hot dishwater. My wife hears the plop, sees the cousin, then calls me into the kitchen to rescue it. I transport the groggy patient to Big momma's jar.

The family reunion was brief, however. Big momma's cousin dies sometime during the night. 

Day FOUR: 

Big momma appears to be winding down. Her life-cycle is clearly coming to an end.


RIP Big momma. Sorry, no funeral. Quasi-autopsy shows that she measured in at nearly 7/8" . I place Big momma, her cousin and the egg-laden meat into a larger plastic container.


No sign of life.


No sign of.... WAIT. I check the underside of the container and there they are. Big momma's big babies are feeding underneath the rotting chicken meat.


11 Big maggots feed voraciously for 3 days then stop eating. All maggots (but 1) are now climbing away from the rotting meat toward the top of the container.

Big maggots are now at the favored stage for fish bait and chicken feed.  If refrigerated, they will remain viable bait for up to 3 weeks.

Big maggots are placed in a containers filled 1/2" with corn meal. They burrow immediately.


I expect the maggots to cycle into the pupa stage very shortly.  Soon they'll emerge just as big as Big Momma. I'll update this ible with pictures of the pupa in a few days.

btw, did you know that pet spiders are especially fond of pupa?  


Unfortunately, I'm leaving the country in about a week. I can't keep the farm going. If you are interested in raising BIG MOMMA Flies that will cycle into BIG MAGGOTS, just message me and I'll mail the pupae to you free of charge. I'd be interested in hearing all about the future generation of Big mommas if you are so inclined. 

**UPDATE** BIG MAGGOTS ARE NOW PUPAE. They are needing a new home before they hatch. See the last picture.

Step 2: How to Farm Maggots

Picture of How to Farm Maggots
Begin farming maggots with just a few supplies. You will need:
  1. Bait container: 1 large plastic container with a lid.
  2. Uncooked, decaying meat or canteloupe to bait the flies.
  3. Holding container for mature maggots: 1 small plastic container with a lid.
  4. Corn meal for the holding container. 
If you're starting with fresh meat, put a few small pieces into the bait container and snap the lid on. Put it outside in the sun for a day. On day 2, take the lid off. The meat should smell rancid. 

If you're using canteloupe, put a few slivers into the bait container

Put the container in a warm spot outside. Leave it out for a day or 2. Female flies will land on the food and lay their eggs. Cover the container and bring it in at night. Cats, dogs and racoons may thieve your smelly bait if you don't.

On day 3 put your covered bait container in a safe, shady spot outside where animals can't bother it. Wait and watch for the maggots to hatch.

When the maggots have hatched you can let them feed for a couple of days or you can put them into the small holding container with a few teaspoons of corn meal. Refrigerating the maggots will keep them in a temporary state of suspended animation until you're ready to use them. 

To feed fly pupa, put the maggots in the small container with corn meal once they have stopped feeding. Do not refrigerate. Put the container in dark place. The maggots will burrow in the cornmeal and become pupa in a few days. Refrigerate after they have reached the pupa stage. If the pupa are not refrigerated, they will hatch into flies.

To farm a revolving supply of maggots:

As the maggots hatch, remove them to the holding container. Add meat or canteloupe to the bait container as needed and start from the beginning again.

Be aware that maggots are excellent climbers. Do not leave the bait or holding containers uncovered. The maggots will escape or get eaten by predators.

You can also start raising maggots like I did. Catch fly a few flies and see what happens. I don't know how to sex a fly, but the females are reportedly bigger than the males. 

If you've never handled maggots before, now is as good a time to start as any.

Maggots aren't slimy like worms, but they do squirm. They don't bite, no matter what you see in movies. You don't even have to touch them if you have tweezers. The most unpleasant part of raising maggots is the smell of the bait container if you use meat. If you think that'll be an issue, you might want to use canteloupe.

Good luck!


STEMChick (author)2017-07-31

This was a Fabulous read!!! Thank you! Not only am I chicken keeper , but also a science teacher...definitely turning this into a lesson!!

DebbieC110 (author)2016-08-07

Thank you this is very helpful. If you haven't got rid of big momma yet I would love to her pupae

BLASTFEMI (author)2016-04-12

Thanks for all the great info! I'm going to give this a try to make supplement food for my chickens.

jadekikyo (author)2011-09-07

Hey look-y there! We both made it to the front page side-by-side. How funny is that? Maybe a conversation was lucky, lol.

cloudifornia (author)jadekikyo2011-09-08

Way cool! Maybe I should make a tiny maggot leash?

jadekikyo (author)cloudifornia2011-09-08

I think that's a great idea. You'll need something smaller then webbing though. On Frasier they once made a gecko leash with dental floss. That might work. ;-)

cloudifornia (author)jadekikyo2011-09-08

My fingers are too big. Maybe I could talk my wife into it? :-D

jadekikyo (author)cloudifornia2011-09-08

Oh yeah I bet she would be thrilled to making little dental floss maggot leashes for you. I can totally picture one of your maggots wearing a dental floss harness and leash. Only problem now is where do you walk a maggot?

cloudifornia (author)jadekikyo2011-09-08

If my wife makes the leash, I think you should volunteer to walk the maggots. This was your idea, wasn't it? :-D

You could even put a little moustache on one to win the moustache challenge!

jadekikyo (author)cloudifornia2011-09-08

Ok the picture of the maggot with the mustache is completely adorable. I didn't know there was a mustache challenge. Is the prize an electric razor?

Hey now as much as I would love to take credit for the idea of a maggot harness and leash I must admit it was your idea. Well ok the harness was my idea and the dental floss was too but I was just trying to help. I wouldn't want you to try using webbing for it and have "big mama's" spawn high tailing it down the sidewalk and getting away. After all we all know how speedy those little beasts can be. ;-)

cloudifornia (author)jadekikyo2011-09-08

Of course you are right. Now I'm having second thoughts about putting them on a leash at all. If they escaped who knows what might get them?

Here is where to find the mustache challenge. Good Luck!

jadekikyo (author)cloudifornia2011-09-08

This is true. Plus you know if they were left to their own devices they maybe grow even larger. Or worse yet they may find some umbrella corp product and then we would have giant zombie maggots....... with mustaches. OH DEAR GOD!!!!! Yes, please tell your wife to cancel the maggot leashes....

Btw, thanks for the link. :-)

cloudifornia (author)jadekikyo2011-09-08

oh God! Zombie maggots? I never considered the possibilty!

The maggots are gone and my wife is missing!!!!! Maybe she's taken them for a walk?????

I should have warned her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Link? argh!!!! My wife is missing and you're talking about link?????

jadekikyo (author)cloudifornia2011-09-12

Lol, sorry just saw you replied. Poor wifey! Has she turned back up yet? Hopefully she hasn't been transformed into a zombie... wait if a zombie maggot bites you do you just turn into a zombie or a zombie maggot?!

R.A.T.M (author)2011-09-07

if your ice fishing with them b4 u put them in the water you warm them up in your lip yummy

cloudifornia (author)R.A.T.M2011-09-08

I've heard that before. Is it really true?

R.A.T.M (author)cloudifornia2011-09-08

ya i fish lots fly fish (you don't use them for that but ) ice fish open reel lots it only for when its cold out to get them moving so they scwerm in the water i ice fish the real fishing not in a cabin on the water and i pack my lip with 2-3

so i wold say yes it is

cloudifornia (author)R.A.T.M2011-09-08

I've never been ice fishing but I believe you.

These maggots were lively in my hand. I cannot imagine putting one in my mouth. More power to you!;-D

R.A.T.M (author)cloudifornia2011-09-08

or there pressed agenst your lip so thay dont move much but i under stand

NYnitwit (author)2011-09-08

What kind of fishies wii you catch wit dese?

cloudifornia (author)NYnitwit2011-09-08

What kind of fish do you want?

NYnitwit (author)cloudifornia2011-09-08

I would likes some BIG rainbow trouts :)

cloudifornia (author)NYnitwit2011-09-08

Find fishing hole. Use a #10 (or higher) hook. Pierce maggots on hook. Fish. ;-D

Hubiewan (author)2011-09-08

Used to catch night crawlers for fishing. Got the idea to try squid for fresh water fishing as it is harder to rip off the hooks. Turns out most, if not all, fish like squid. It's cheap enough, can be bought by the each, can be wrapped and frozen for future use. You can use a tentacle or strip or whatever shape you'd like to cut it into. Lot less work than maggots/worms, etc. Good luck fishin!

cloudifornia (author)Hubiewan2011-09-08

You're right. When I'm not trolling, squid is my bait of choice in salt water. I never thought of fishing with it in fresh water.

I'll bring some home from Mexico next spring and and try it. Thanks for the suggestion!

sunshiine (author)2011-09-03

Please a mends???? I don't need any more maggots!

cloudifornia (author)sunshiine2011-09-03

ok. But behave yourself and don't pet anything that squiggles.

sunshiine (author)cloudifornia2011-09-03

You can bet your booty on that! Lady bugs are OK! They are pretty and don't squiggle or bite!

jadekikyo (author)sunshiine2011-09-07

Actually in Tennessee there is a kind of lady bug that bites. Also in Europe. Over there they call them lady birds though and they are a lot bigger. Technically they may be false lady bugs but they look just like the real ones.

sunshiine (author)jadekikyo2011-09-07

I just learned something new! Thanks!

jadekikyo (author)sunshiine2011-09-07

No prob. :-)

cloudifornia (author)jadekikyo2011-09-07

gulp. I didn't want to tell her that, but now that the BUG IS OUT OF THE BAG:

I've been bitten by what I thought was a lady bug. It was a lady beetle. they look identical.

jadekikyo (author)cloudifornia2011-09-07

Lol, yep. I've gotten bitten before as well. I think I remember it hurting about as much as a mosquito or yellow fly bite but without the itch. Similar to a cricket bite if you've ever made a cricket angry enough to bite you.

cloudifornia (author)jadekikyo2011-09-07

Nope, I never pissed a cricket off. ;-D

jadekikyo (author)cloudifornia2011-09-07

Lol, I did when I was like 4. For some reason it didn't occur to me that he wouldn't want to have part of his back pulled off until AFTER he let me know. Then I felt bad (about hurting him not about getting bit). Ah the joys of being an overly inquisitive child.

jadekikyo (author)2011-09-07

Oh and nice ible. I'm not an easily grossed out girl but maggots are one of the only things that freak me out. I think it's mostly because they live on rotting food and that grosses me out.

cloudifornia (author)jadekikyo2011-09-07

Thanks! I agree their feeding habits are pretty gross.

Did you know medical maggots are also FDA-approved and prescribed? They are used to clean necrotic wounds and have saved both life and limb when conventional antibiotics and treatment were completely ineffective.

Gross, yes, but also one of natures little miracle bugs. Our environment would be overloaded with dead, stinky, putrid carcasses if it weren't for maggots.

jadekikyo (author)cloudifornia2011-09-07

Oh yes actually I did know that. It's great for people who are diabetic and/or obese with wounds that won't heal. They are bread in labs in sterile environments but I think I remember they still use rotting meat, lol.

Actually did you know that during one of the wars that became apparent (can't remember which one). Some of the men were "beyond hope" and left to die so the less severely injured could be cared for. Well some still survived and it was the ones who's wounds became infested with maggots that fared a much better chance. The maggots would eat away the infected material and leave the clean healthy living flesh alone.

Hehe, lets hope no one was eating while reading this. Certainly a beneficial insect. They still gross me out though, lol.

cloudifornia (author)jadekikyo2011-09-07

MAGGOT MAN SURVIVES! Seeks revenge on those who left him to die!

What a GROSS B-rated movie that would be. I am surprised it hasn't been made already! ;-O)

LOL. Maybe someone IS eating lunch. I saw some pretty gross pictures I could post! 

jadekikyo (author)cloudifornia2011-09-07

Lol, it probably has been. I've seen some pretty insane movies before and I have a friend who would probably find it and make us watch it. He once found a movie about a zombie mummy with some kind of mind control powers that I'm pretty sure could also have been classified as porn. Then of course I'm pretty sure "eraser head" starred a large maggot pretending to be a baby.... O.o

sunshiine (author)2011-09-06

Found this on the Z list! Congrats!

tjesse (author)2011-09-05

I got a fever, and the only cure is more magnets. I don't know why I thought that was funny. This life cycle happends twice a month in my trash can next to my house. Very entertaining.

cloudifornia (author)tjesse2011-09-06

The accidental maggot farm. I bet you have a lot of flies!

sunshiine (author)2011-09-03

This is incredibly awesomely gross! You did a great job! I am afraid I am not a fisher-girl! I could not place a squiggly worm on a hook for anything much less a maggot???? I am sure this Instructable will draw some attention to those that love to fish! Worms bite?? I assume they don't hurt. Right? I mean I really don't expect to get bitten by a worm but it is nice to know facts. Have a splendorous day fishing!


bajablue (author)sunshiine2011-09-03

ROTFL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Worms do not bite! He just worded that wrong. I think I can fix the problem... whenever I quit laughing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;-D

cloudifornia (author)bajablue2011-09-03

It's ok! You can quit laughing now before you hyperventilate!!!

sunshiine (author)cloudifornia2011-09-03

Been there done that I am just now getting over the maggot stew. Sure hope the queasiness fades before meal time! Your picture grossed me out! Does that say anything about your photography skills?

cloudifornia (author)sunshiine2011-09-03

Maggot stew sounds delicous! ;-O)

Thats great you are grossed out! I'm getting better!!!

sunshiine (author)cloudifornia2011-09-03

Ta TA 4 now! LOL

cloudifornia (author)sunshiine2011-09-03

Yes, I understand. Be careful not to burn your maggot soup! ;-O)

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