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Not long ago, government inspectors were disturbed to find an insect infestation that resulted from the improper storage of multiple decaying human bodies within a Worcester funeral home. In response to this discovery, the funeral home owner claimed that he was without fault, as the insects were contained within the body bags, as opposed to being outside the body bags. However, this was not the case, as inspectors discovered numerous flies and maggots crawling atop the occupied body bags. While this story is certainly disturbing, most residents are probably under the impression that such an infestation could never occur within their home. After all, most people are not in the habit of keeping decaying carcasses in their house. However, it is not uncommon for a variety of insect pests to invade homes due to their attraction to decaying rodent carcassess that have collected within a crawl space, an attic and/or wall voids.

Flies are the most common insect pests that invade homes in order to dwell in close proximity to dead rodents located within obscured, and often, inaccessible locations. For example, common house flies, and several species of blow fly, phorid fly, and flesh fly see females lay their eggs on decaying animal carcasses. Once these eggs hatch, the emerging larvae develop on the carcasses where they obtain the nutrients needed to develop properly before taking flight as adults. In these infestation cases, flies appear in homes seemingly out of nowhere, but they are actually emerging from ducts, vents, wall cracks, and gaps around light fixtures. Cluster flies, which invade homes during the fall in large numbers in order to overwinter in attics, are known for feeding on dead insects that collect in obscured areas.

In addition to flies, numerous Dermestid beetle species that are well known pests of indoor fabrics and/or stored foods may invade homes solely to deposit their larvae on rotting rodent carcasses. For example, when carpet beetles, larder beetles, or hide beetles suddenly emerge within a home, they may be originating from indoor areas where rodent carcasses are abundant. This is especially the case when Dermestid beetles appear in homes that have not seen damage to fabrics and stored foods.

Do you know if your home contains dead rodent carcasses?