Laboratory bioassays with gravid females of Lucilia cuprina (Wiedemann) were used to isolate the source(s) of olfactory attractants emanating from larvae-infested media. Adults were not attracted by odours from axenic (micro-organism-free) larvae, but volatiles from xenic larvae were highly attractive. The attractants proved to be kairomones not pheromones, as odours from other species of calliphorids and a sarcophagid species were also attractive. Axenic, proteinaceous media produced a low level of attractive volatiles, which was increased by the activities of axenic larvae growing on the media. A greater degree of attraction occurred to odours from xenic media, and this too was much increased by the actions of growing larvae. The order of attractiveness of such volatiles is therefore: xenic with larvae >> xenic without larvae > axenic with larvae > axenic without larvae. It is concluded that larvae-infested media owe their great attractiveness to the volatiles produced by the action of micro-organisms, not to specific larval volatiles. Larval activity accentuates the output of attractive volatiles from both xenic and axenic proteinaceous media, possibly due to the effects of digestive enzymes, pH changes, mechanical mixing, warming or aeration or a combination of some or all of these factors.