Maggots are often not given the care they should have, considered to be generally dirty and smelly and not worth much effort, however, as a living creature we think this is wrong and over the years have learnt spending time and effort into looking after them gives a genuine payback not only with the health and condition of the maggots but also with many benefits to the customer.
First it helps to understand a little of the life cycle of the fly or flies involved, certainly the fly eggs are laid on something rotting depending on species this may be meat or vegetation or both, the eggs then hatch into tiny maggots which then feed on this material, as they grow and feed they will shed skin several times to allow for an increase in size, at the last stage they are ready to pupate into chrysalis or as often known – casters, at this stage they have stopped feeding (so no point in trying to feed your maggots!) it is also at this stage, having had their last big meal, they are harvested for sale, you can actually see this last meal known as “the food spot” they are then stored in large containers in the cold, they are also excreting waste which we smell as ammonia, they are mixed in with sawdust to soak up this waste and smell, which if not changed regularly is sold with them in the tackle shops – along with the smell, shed skins and any dead maggots as well.
At Worms Direct we think it should be done differently, when they come into us we clean them off all the old sawdust, we allow them to wriggle their way through sieves to remove old skin and bits and then put them into fresh sawdust, this is done several times during their stay with us and certainly just before they are sold, this ensures that the customer receives maggots that we believe are the cleanest, none smelly maggots available.
Now to the care bit, if keeping for a while say more than 3 days or so the cleaning and changing sawdust as above should continue to avoid the build up of ammonia, they need to be kept cool, preferably in a refrigerator where the temperature can be kept to around 2degC, the warmer it is the sooner they will turn to casters, whenever they are out of the cold, even for 15 minutes or so the maggots will put every effort into developing into casters, this will pretty much eliminate that stinking bait fridge that many anglers have in the garage.