Ants, Flies, and maggots in coop - DE hasn't helped - What can I do?


12 Years
Jun 4, 2009
I have been using food grade DE in the coop under and on top of the shavings, everywhere. I cleaned the coop less than a week ago, applied fresh shavings, and used DE. Within a couple days, the flies were horrible again (like a swarm when you walk in, flies are hitting you everywhere), and the coop is also FULL of ants. So I applied more DE, but to no avail. And under the hanging waterer where the chickens occasionally spill, there are live maggots buried in the moist shavings, lots of them. Because of these pests, I have to clean the coop and put down new shavings every few days. From what I've read here, that's not normal. I know DE is supposed to work, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything, no matter how much I use or re-apply.

My chickens don't eat the flies and ants, but I sure wish they would. And they haven't seen the maggots because they are buried in the moist shavings under the waterer. Not sure I would want them eating the nasty maggots anyway, no telling what they may be carrying. If I could get rid of the flies, that would cure the maggot problem too. The ants are just now starting to get bad, the DE isn't phasing them, and some of them are fire ants. I know full well the damage they can do, but I'm wondering if the maggots also pose any risk to my old chicken that can't roost anymore and pretty much stays in one spot?

I would be grateful for any ideas on how to kill and/or repel the flies, maggots and ants that my coop is overrun with. Would Seven dust work and be safe? Maybe a better brand of DE?

Sugar Sand Farm

12 Years
Apr 24, 2007
North Florida
Try using sand or dirt instead of shavings. I live in Florida and can not use shavings or hay. We clean or coops all the time as it gets too hot to leave the shavings or hay down for long It get overrun with ants and flies. Some of my grow out coops just have a wooden plank floor We wash them out everyday. We do the same for the ducks. Leaving shavings in the coop maybe OK for cooler climates but I prefer not to have the bugs. DH tried the deep litter method when we first started chickens but we soon learned that was not for us. With the sand moisture is never a problem and I have yet to have an ant problem in my big coop that has a sand floor. Its easier to keep clean too.

You could also try Orangeguard its a natural pest control sold only at Ace hardware stores. You can also get it online. That works very well on the ants and maggots and its natural.
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11 Years
Mar 12, 2009
For fire ants I always use Amdro, but don't use it in the coop. I sprinkle it around the coop to kill the ants, they will carry it back to the queen and I am sure the dumb chickens would eat it if they could so keep it out of the coop and run.

On flies, I haven't used de since I can't find it around here. Instead I use Sweet PDZ, it is used in horse stalls, perfectly safe for chickens and it dries out the poop very nicely. Stall Dri may work too but I haven't used it so I can't recommend it.

On the maggots, I think a lot of your problems are coming from moisture. My birds don't spill my water so maybe it is a difference in the waterer. Maybe yours is leaking and you don't realize it? Anyway, try a different one or put a pan maybe under it so the moisture doesn't accumulate there. DE can't cure all moisture problems, it will help but I think you are leaking out of your waterer. Can you start watering in the run instead? I think this is where your problem is starting.


12 Years
Jan 27, 2007
If your humidity level is high the DE is not so hot. We have about 4" of play sand mixed with DE as a base in coop and just enough wood chips/straw on top that once soiled can be raked out daily.

Lots of flies here, at present (taking over outdoor cat's food - feed him at night), but none hanging around the chicken coop or turkey shed. Worse at the moment owing to cattle being pastured across the road.

You could try fly strips. Or do a search on fly traps (lots of folks have been pretty creative).

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