Especially in the hotter months, flies and maggots can pose a problem in the bottom of your garbage cans. Sometimes these common pests can be tricky to eliminate. Not to mention, maggots can carry diseases and pose a health hazard, so it's best to act as quickly as possible. They can quickly take over garbage cans if you're not careful. Luckily, you can take simple steps to kill them and keep them away for good. These everyday household tips can help you rid your trash cans of an infestation problem before it gets out of hand.
To start, make sure you keep the affected area clean and free from food scraps or other organic substances that could attract more maggots to come. If there are traces of food or beverages, this can create the ideal breeding ground and food supply to sustain the larvae. If you find excess flies or maggots in your trash cans, it is essential to act fast. Typically most methods involve things already in your household cleaning supplies. Chemicals and even ordinary soaps can be incredibly effective even after one cleaning treatment.
Bleach to the Rescue
The most popular and possibly most effective chemical cleaner would be bleach and hot water. Combine equal parts bleach and hot water in your garbage cans and close the lid. The fumes will kill the maggots and disinfect the surface area, hopefully keeping them away. Bleach will ensure no traces of the maggots, and they will not come back later. A second treatment or even wiping down the area with pure bleach (as opposed to the 50/50 water solution) will take care of residue and traces of whatever they may have been feeding on to ensure everything has been eliminated.
No Bleach Handy? No Problem
Another option is to use a hose to spray them out and use an all-purpose cleaner to kill the larva. If you are using household cleaning products, it can be a very time-efficient way of doing the work but be sure to get rid of all remaining standing water. You don't want to get rid of some maggots while providing a breeding ground for more maggots to come later. All-purpose cleaners work, as well as an insecticide, in case you don't have bleach on hand. You can find them at most hardware stores. Just be sure to follow the directions on the label.
Greener Methods to Eliminate Pests
If you want to be a little greener and not use harsh chemicals, there are everyday items that can also get rid of these insects. These items may not be as effective as an abrasive chemical, but they will ensure nothing else is harmed in the disposal process and still help you get cleaned up. One recommendation is to fill a pantyhose with mothballs and tie it closed. Place this inside the garbage can and wait for them to leave. Maggots do not like mothballs, and the scent can help drive them out of the area and ensure they don't return.
Similar to snails, maggots also don't like salt. Pouring a generous amount of salt on the larvae and the infected area will also ensure they die. After covering and leaving for a bit, sweep away the maggots and residue. However, be sure to clean the scraps of food or liquid residue that brought them there, or you could keep attracting a new round of larva. Wipe the area with hot water and vinegar to ensure they don't return. Also, allow the site to dry completely before closing the lid. You don't want to risk creating a humid environment for more breeding to produce. Humidity invites other problems if not addressed properly, in addition to the maggots.
Let Your Trash Cans Air Out
After you clean and treat the area with water and your treatment methods, wipe it down one more time. This is important to catch any residue you may have missed and ensure the receptacle dries completely. Especially outdoor trash cans can trap standing water and heat making the humidity rise inside the garbage cans. It encourages breeding for larvae, but you also have the potential for mold. Trash cans with lids can often mold very quickly. This can be a whole other issue in addition to the infestation that will also need treatment if left unattended. Just as maggots can multiply and hatch dozens of flies, mold can multiply quickly and take over any container in no time at all. Keep your garbage cans clean and dry, and treat them immediately if you notice unwanted pests moving in. The quicker you act on these problems, the bigger the headache you will save yourself and keep your surroundings safe.