Even the word maggots has my skin crawling… so to discover you have maggots in your bin is just something no one wants to see.
This is a relatively common problem for outdoor bins and wheelie bins, as they are exposed to the elements as well as all of the creatures that reside out there. Flies are always on the lookout for food, warmth and a place to lay their eggs and a sheltered wheelie bin with food gunk caked in the corners is like a dream come true for them – particularly in the summer months.
How to Get Rid of Maggots in Your Bin
If flies can gain access to the rubbish inside of your bin, then they may lay their eggs there, since there is a food source. These eggs can hatch into fly larvae (maggots) within 24 hours.
Of course, if these maggots are on top of the rubbish they will be disposed of when the binmen come, but if they’re at the bottom of the bin then you’re going to have to deal with them in other ways.
1. Use fly spray
If you have fly spray in the house then it is definitely worth giving the maggots (and any nearby flies) a spritz. This will kill the maggots and flies leaving you to dispose of their remains. If it is an indoor bin in which you discover maggots, it may be best to take it outside to deal with if this is a possibility.
Keep pets and children well away when using the fly spray and you could even wear a face covering to mask the smell and fumes.
Of course, you may not like the idea of using fly spray to kill maggots, as they are living creatures and the way this substance works to deal with pests isn’t the nicest to hear. If you are interested in how fly sprays work, we found this helpful article here.
2. Wash them away
Again, this may not feel like the nicest option but it does the job. Pour boiling water into the bottom of your bin to kill the maggots. You could opt to add a little bleach too just to make sure, but if you’d rather not use chemical-based cleaning products, then boiling hot water should do the trick.
3. Feed the birds
If you have a garden or outdoor space in which you know that birds frequent, you could leave the maggots out as feed. Any maggots that drop to the ground may even be eaten by hedgehogs.
This video shows birds dining on maggots crawling out from a wheelie bin… surely this is the most Vegan-friendly way of dealing with maggots? Let nature take control.
4. Use scented cleaner
Give your bin a good scrub with some disinfectant to make sure there are no more eggs hanging around. Use your favourite scented disinfectant as this can actually deter flies from coming back to your bin. Zoflora is ideal as their scents are quite strong and they have so many options to choose from!
How to Reduce the Risk of Maggots
As well as making your bin smell super nice with some scented disinfectant, there are a few other ways in which you can deter flies from laying eggs in your bin again:
- Keep a lid on it – Covering up your rubbish means that flies should not be able to get in to lay their eggs in the first place.
- Tie your bin bags – Remove excess air from refuse bags and knot them closed so that they are inaccessible to any bugs.
- Reduce your food waste – Try not to throw away as much food, only buy what you need and perhaps compost unused foodstuffs rather than binning them. This website here has some great information about food wastage.
- Rinse out packaging – Recyclable AND unrecyclable packaging which has food residue on it should be rinsed before being placed in your bins.
- Double wrap – Food waste, pet waste and even nappies should be double wrapped.
- Hang insecticide strips – These can be hung inside your bin to deter flies.
- Use citronella spray – This is a natural remedy which will discourage flies from entering your bin because they don’t like the smell.
- Flush any ‘solids’ – Disposable nappies could be emptied into the toilet before being placed in the bin (double-wrapped remember!)
- Avoid direct sunlight – Where you can, try to store the wheelie bin in a shaded area that is out of direct sunlight. Keeping the wheelie bin in a cooler area will slow down decomposition, reducing the likelihood of maggots and nasty smells.
- Clean the bin with disinfectant – This one is especially important in the summer months. After the bin has been emptied on collection day, wash it out using a general disinfectant to remove any food scraps and build-ups that can attract insects.
- Deal with the flies – One way to prevent maggot infestations is to deal with the flies before they can lay eggs. You can make an effective yet simple trap for flies by filling the bottom of a container with a little water, some bait and a little washing up liquid.Fly paper works in the same way, and if you prefer a more active approach, you can invest in a fly swatter too.
Maggot Prevention Hacks
A quick internet search will return a wealth of solutions that individuals believe may deter houseflies. Of course, these hacks experience varying degrees of success, but if you are after a chemical-free preventative, some of these may be worth a try:
- Place sprigs of elder, lavender, mint, or rue in the bin, in the bin lid, or hang them around the bin to keep flies away.
- Try putting mothballs in the bin underneath bin liners in kitchen bins, or in a bag that has been tied to the bin’s handle.
- Wrap up pungent waste products, like fish heads, and place them in the freezer until collection day. This prevents them from going off before the bins are emptied.
- Use a home composter to reduce the amount of fruit and vegetable waste in the wheelie bin.
Why Am I Getting Maggots?
Maggots will only exist if grown houseflies have managed to access rubbish such as food waste. Houseflies that settle on this type of rubbish may lay eggs which then hatch into maggots.
Beyond rubbish in external bins, houseflies are also attracted to dog faeces, animal carcasses and other natural, waste materials.
Are Maggots Harmful to Humans?
Maggots might be completely disgusting to a lot of people, but in some parts of the world, maggots are considered a delicacy.
Eating larvae, especially uncooked, can lead to nasty bacterial food poisoning if the maggots have encountered unsavoury material such as faeces or rotting food.
In the same way, maggots can contaminate food services leading to an increased risk of cross-contamination and food poisoning.
Maggots grow up to become houseflies which are a commonly known pest as they are annoying and can spread disease. Certain species of maggots, however, can help to save lives.
These special breeds of maggot are carefully farmed in laboratories, and can be used to feed on rotting flesh, helping to clear bacteria-infested tissue from open wounds. Since first being used, this technique has managed to save countless limbs from amputation.
If maggots are present, they can also be used as part of a criminal investigation to determine the time of death.
What Are Maggots?
Maggots are the larvae stage of the common housefly. These flies are attracted to food waste and other types of rubbish. The houseflies lay their eggs on the rubbish in the bin and these eventually hatch into maggots.
Flies purposefully lay their eggs on things like rubbish as it gives the maggots a food source for when they hatch. These maggots then form pupae that then hatches into the common houseflies.
The entirety of this lifecycle tends to take around ten days in the warmer months, and up to a month in the winter.
Thirty-something lady with a penchant for flowers and anything involving crafts. I like to clean using environmentally-friendly methods where possible and love sharing my findings, tips and tricks here on In The Wash!