Flies, maggots and bin smells
Advice and guidance on how to avoid getting maggots in the refuse bin
Flies want to lay their eggs directly on waste food and therefore the presence of maggots would indicate that they have been able to lay their eggs on food in the bin, or in the kitchen before it was placed in the bin.
There are some measures that can reduce the likelihood of getting maggots:
- Make sure that you never leave any food, including pet food, uncovered. Flies can lay eggs on food before it goes in the bin
- Double-bag all food waste in securely tied plastic bags. Putrescible waste such as meat carcass/fish remains/dairy etc can be wrapped in newspaper and then tied in a plastic bag to make a very effective barrier. Even though this means a few sheets of newspaper are not recycled, it is important to wrap waste well in the refuse bin
- Squeeze air out of waste bags before securely tying and putting in the bin. The lack of air will slow down general decomposition, reduce smells and slow the development of maggots
- Ensure that the lid of your bin is kept closed
- Recycle all the materials possible, so that general refuse is minimised and the bin lid remains shut
- Always keep the inside and outside of your bin clean using a disinfectant and remove any food spills
- Store your bin in a shady position, out of direct sunlight wherever possible, with the lid closed – this will slow down the general decomposition of waste in the bin and reduce smells
- Keep your bin clean using a disinfectant to help prevent the build up of food scraps, grime and smells
- With baby's nappies, empty solids into the toilet before double bagging and putting in the bin. Washable 'real' nappies are an option to reduce smells in the bin (laundering services are also available).
An internet search will reveal other possible remedies which you may wish to consider. The following have not been tested by the Council and are provided as information, not recommendations.
- There are a few natural herbs that deter flies. Place sprigs of Elder, Lavender, Mint, Pennyroyal, Rue or Southern Wood in the bin/bin lid, or hang them up around the bin to keep flies away. Rub the leaves frequently so their smell is released. Or smear tea-tree oil or citronella on the bin lid to deter flies.
- Try putting mothballs in the bin (either at the bottom below the bin liner for kitchen bins or in a bag tied to the wheeled bin handle); this will help to keep it fragrant during the summer months.
- Pungent food waste, such fish heads, can be wrapped up and put in the freezer until your bin collection day. Put it into the bin just before you place it out for collection; this simple measure will prevent the food waste decomposing in the bin in-between collections.
- An absorbent powder has been developed to neutralise odours in bins.
- Disinfectant sprays and gels are available from major stockists to keep the bin smelling fresh.
- Try to waste as little food as possible. Around a third of all food we buy is thrown away, and in the UK we throw away more food than packaging (by weight). For ideas on how to reduce food waste, visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com .
- Using a home composter will reduce the fruit and vegetable waste in the bin.
How do I get rid of maggots?
If maggots do get into your wheeled bin, most of them will go when your bin is emptied.
- Maggots and fly eggs can be killed by using boiling water and readily available cleaning products (always read the label)
- Clean and wash out your bin out after it has been emptied. Professional bin cleaning companies are available
- Try using a cleaning product with a fragrance, which will help to deter the flies from your bin.
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