How to Keep Bugs Away from Trash Cans

Whether indoors or outdoors, decaying trash will attract all sort of pesky creatures if not well managed. How to Keep Bugs Away from Trash CansThe most common of these include cockroaches, flies, maggots, mosquitoes, ants among other bugs.

While it’s not uncommon to have bugs in trash cans, it’s more relieving to keep them away as much as possible. In this article, I’ll share some insights on how to keep bugs away from trash cans.

Related: Best Trash Can To Keep Bugs Out

Dangers of Bug-Infested Garbage Bins

1. Germs and Diseases

Bugs-infested trash cans are a potential source of food contamination in the house. As they crawl around, flies, cockroaches and other critters leave behind harmful bacteria thus exposing you to illnesses.

Roaches are possible carriers of germs that cause diarrhea, dystentry, typhoid and cholera. Roach excrements, saliva and carcasses are also known to cause allergic reactions.

2. Attracts Stinging Insects

Stinging insects like yellow jackets are attracted to the sugary things you toss in your outdoor garbage bins. If outdoor garbage bins are not managed properly, you might end up with a colony of yellow jackets in your compound.

3. Destruction to Property

Food crumbs in trash cans will attract different types of ants. Carpenter ants tend to invade homes where they cause serious damage to wooden materials. Fire ants tend to build anthills thus altering your landscaping. Fire ants are also associated with electrical short-circuiting.

While ants are very destructive, they aid in soil aeration, soil mixing and seed dispersal. Ants also assist in pest control since they feed on other insects.

7 ways to Keep Bugs Away from Trash Cans

Bugs will linger around trash cans as they are attracted to the smell and methane gas produced by the rotting trash. So, the best way to deter bugs from your trash cans is to eliminate sources of smell.

While it’s almost impossible to eliminate bugs completely, it helps to keep them way as much as possible. This reduces chances of bug infestation in your garden, lawn, patio or indoors spaces.

Here’re are a few things you can do to keep bugs away from trash cans.

Use Odor-Sealing Trash Cans

As much as possible, use odor-sealing trash cans to avoid attracting bugs to the rotting trash. Most high-end trash cans are designed with tightly-closing lids so as to seal odor and shut off odor-causing bacteria.

A tightly-closing lid also keeps bugs away from the inside of the trash can.

Keep Your Trash in Sealing Plastic Bags

Food substances and packing that attract bugs should be bagged in airtight plastic bags before being thrown in the trash can.

Wash Recyclable Containers before Disposing

Packing containers that contain edible food remnants are also attractive to bugs. With time, the accumulated food remnants start rotting thus attracting bugs.

Before disposing such containers in the trash can, it’s advisable to wash them with a detergent. This eliminates remnants that attract bugs to trash cans.

Remember to dry out these containers to eliminate breeding zones.

Keep Your Trash Dry

Moisture-laden trash provide a conducive environment for the breeding of common household bugs. So, trash should be kept dry to make it less conducive for breeding. Moisture-laden food leftovers such as stew should be bagged in plastic trash bags before throwing it in the trash bin.

Use Garbage Can Insect Repellent

Insect repellents provide an effective means of keeping bugs away from indoor and outdoor trash cans. You can use do-it-yourself repellents such as vinegar, cloves, boric acid and so on.

Use Insect Killers

With a do-it-yourself ammonia solution, you have a chance of getting rid of bugs in trash cans. Do only does it kill bugs but is also keeps off new away from the trash can. However, it’s not advisable to use ammonia in indoor trash cans since it emits a pungent smell.

You can also use commercial insect killers and repellents such as the Terro garbage guard.

Clean Your Trash Can Regularly

Smell from the rotting trash tends to attract all sort of annoying creatures including bugs, raccoons, coyotes and bears. Your pets are also attracted to the trash can smell.

Trash can odor usually results from the germs that thrive due the damp conditions inside there.

Cleaning and disinfecting the inside of the trash can regularly provides a good way of reducing lingering smell. This makes the trash can less attractive to wildlife and pet intrusion.

When cleaning your trash can, use a strong bleach to kill the odor-causing germs. Plus, scrub thoroughly to get rid of accumulated grime from the edges and crevices.

How to Get Rid of Maggots from Trash Cans

Encountering maggots in your trash can might make you freak. Due to their rapid breeding, a few maggots can turn into a disgusting bug infestation within a few days. Maggots that spill to the outside of the trash can are a clear sign of a serious infestation.

Maggots can become a problem especially during hot and humid weather conditions. During warm conditions, trash tend to stink more due to the higher rate of decomposition. This makes your trash can more luring to flies.

When flies enter the trash can, they lay several eggs which later hatch into maggots and then develop into adult flies. The new flies lay more eggs and the cycle continues.

If you’re having a maggot infestation in your trash can, then here is a guide for getting rid of them.

  1. Wear sanitation rubber gloves to keep your hands off germs.
  2. Remove the trash bag from the trash can. A more convenient time to clean your trash can is immediately after garbage has been picked up.
  3. Blast the inside of the trash can with a solution of boiling water and vinegar. This kills eggs, maggots and adult flies that are trapped in the trash can.
  4. Now clean both the inside and outside of the trash can with a powerful disinfectant or bleach. Scrub the surfaces with a brush or towel. Avoid using abrasive scrubbing towels on polished surfaces as this could destroy their lusture.
  5. Rinse the garbage bin with clean water and allow it to dry. Your garden hose may be helpful in this case.
  6. Spray the inside of the trash can with a deodorant before inserting the next trash bag.


Rotting trash makes a perfect breeding zone for common critters like flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, maggots and so on. Although it’s difficult to eliminate these bugs completely, you can keep them in check by cleaning your trash cans regularly.

Apart from cleaning and disinfecting, it’s advisable to place insect killers and repellents in the trash can.

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