If you find maggots in the bottom of your trash can, you’re not alone. This is a relatively common problem that many find themselves facing. However, there are several things you can do to help make your trash less hospitable to maggots and other nasty critters.
Today, we’re looking at how you can keep maggots out of your trash can. Let’s take a look.
What Are Maggots?
A maggot is the larva of a fly. Despite the average housefly having a lifespan of approximately 28 days, a female fly can lay hundreds or even thousands of eggs. In most instances, people notice them during their larva stage.
This is when the eggs hatch and enter a worm-like phase of development. The larva will be in this stage for approximately several days before entering the pupa stage. Roughly a week and a half after an egg hatches, it reaches the final stage of development as an adult housefly.
Female adult house flies will go on to continue this cycle, laying hundreds or thousands of more eggs.
What Causes Maggots in My Trash Can?
Maggots don’t just show up somewhere randomly. You’ll typically find maggots in rotting materials and spoiled food in and around your home. While you may find the smell of your trash can putrid, it’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet to flies.
When flies get into your trash can, they’re likely to enjoy their feast and leave behind an incredible amount of eggs. If left long enough, these eggs will eventually grow into what we know as maggots.
Not only do you want to keep your trash can covered to avoid the smell, but it keeps flies from getting into it. If you’re experiencing maggots, it’s likely because it needs to be sealed up, cleaned, or emptied more regularly.
Keep in mind: This is how you get rid of fruit flies in your house!
How Do I Keep Maggots From Growing In My Trash Can?
You can do several things to keep maggots from growing in your trash can. First, you must clean it regularly. You may be putting trash in it, but if you want to keep maggots out, periodically cleaning it can be a huge help.
A quick spray from your garden hose will often be enough to eliminate the gunk sticking to the bottom of your trash can.
The second thing you can do is to keep your trash can covered. Flies are tiny, and if there’s a spot for them to get into your trash can, they’ll find it. Keeping flies out of your trash can will require you to seal up any holes or cracks in your trash can. Keep a lid on it to minimize the chances of flies finding their way into the massive hole in the top.
The final thing you can do to keep maggots from growing in your trash can is to empty it regularly. If your trash gets picked up every week, there’s little chance you’ll find yourself facing maggots, especially if you keep your trash can clean.
However, if you let your trash sit in the can for more than a week, you greatly increase the chances of maggots appearing.
Ways to Kill Maggots Growing in Your Trash Can
If you discover maggots growing in your trash can, don’t fret. You can do several things to kill them and take back control.
Remove the Garbage From the Trash Can
If you want to kill maggots, you must eliminate whatever attracts the flies to lay their eggs. Typically, removing the garbage from the trash can will do the job. Whether you take your trash to the local dump or have a trash service that picks it up weekly, get rid of it.
Ideally, you’ll empty your trash can every week. However, if you can keep it air-tight, it’s possible to go a couple of weeks or more before having issues with maggots.
Scrub the Entire Trash Can
A leaking trash bag can leave behind quite a mess at the bottom of your trash can. If left uncleaned, the bottom can become covered in a disgusting concoction that attracts flies and ultimately maggots.
Spray down the inside of your trash can and even scrub away any residue that remains. This can be a rather laborious task depending on how long it’s been since you last cleaned it. Using dish soap or another mild-detergent and a soft-bristle scrub brush will typically get the job done.
Of course, it’s a good idea to wear gloves and other protection when scrubbing away at your trash can.
Pour Boiling Water Into the Trash Can
Boiling water can do the trick if you want to kill the flies instantly and eliminate any remaining fly eggs. Repeat this step several times or as needed. Make sure to pour it over any crevices where eggs or larva could be hiding.
Don’t forget to be extremely careful when handling boiling water. Tripping while carrying a pot of boiling water can be very dangerous. Clear any obstacles in your way so you have a clear pathway to and from your trash can.
Dry the Trash Can in the Sun
After thoroughly cleaning your trash can, give it time to dry before putting anything into it. Turning your trash can upside down or setting it out in the sun with the lid off for an hour or two is good enough.
Once your trash can is dry, make sure to put the lid on it. You want to keep rain from getting in and flooding your freshly cleaned trash can.
Sprinkle Peppermint or Ammonia in the Trash Can
If you’re regularly disposing of meats and other materials that have a strong smell when rotting, sprinkling peppermint or ammonia can be helpful. Doing so can help keep the odor under control and make it less appealing to flies and other pests.
Some trash bag manufacturers offer scented trash bags. This helps mask the smells from the waste inside of the bag. It can also be very useful for those who infrequently empty their trash can.
Don’t Put the Infected Garbage Back In
You should immediately dispose of any infected garbage. Maggot-infested trash is one of the last things you want to put into your freshly cleaned garbage can. If you do, you’ll need to repeat the entire cleaning process.
EVEN MORE IMPORTANT: Maggots are disgusting, but mice can cause serious damage. This is how you keep mice out of your car’s engine (saving $1,000s in repair).
What Can I Spray in My Trash Can to Prevent Maggots?
If you want to prevent maggots in your trash can, there are several options. Regularly spraying a diluted bleach solution into your trash can is a great option. Don’t go overboard when spraying it, and make sure you thoroughly dilute the solution to avoid any issues.
Another popular spray consists of vinegar and water. You can also include a hint of lime and salt when mixing up this mixture. This can kill maggots and serve as a preventative solution inside your trash can.
Consistency will be your friend when using sprays to prevent maggots. If you’re not using them regularly, you’re likely not getting the best results. Make sure you spray whatever solution you choose once or twice a month.
Is It Possible to Keep Maggots Out of My Trash Can?
If you take a few of the steps we’ve shared today, you can keep maggots out of your trash can. Keeping the inside of your trash can clean and dry is one of the most effective methods. If it doesn’t have a lid or holes, it may be worth investing in a new trash can.
You want an air-tight trash can that makes it difficult for flies and other insects to find their way into it.
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