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by Craig Pryce August 15, 2018

While fairly harmless to humans, the mere sight of maggots can leave some people feeling nauseous because of how they look and move. Even the word ‘maggots’ doesn’t sound very appealing.

Maggots don’t plague all bins but unfortunately there is a higher risk of maggots in wheelie bins containing food, bins that aren’t frequently emptied or cleaned, and waste containers sat outside in prolonged hot weather.

However, fear not — maggots in your wheelie bin are easy to prevent and remove once you know how.

Follow our simple tips below to prevent and kill maggots in your bin.

What are maggots?

A family fishing — grandfather, father and son stood in the water with fishing rods

Maggots are the larvae of flies and they are most likely to appear in your bin in spring and summer.

The flies lay their eggs on your waste, which then become maggots, before turning into flies — which then lay more eggs quite rapidly.

Flies reproduce incredibly quickly, and an egg can hatch into a maggot within just 24 hours!

This is why if you do find maggots in your wheelie bin, you need to act fast to break the cycle.

The lifespan of a maggot is between five and six days, after which it turns into a pupae before transitioning into a fly.

There is no evidence to suggest that maggots are harmful to human health but there’s no denying they are unpleasant.

Having said that, maggots are popular with anglers who use them for fish bait, and lab-grown maggots are used in surgery in some hospitals to clear infected tissue from wounds — much like leeches.

What causes maggots and how do maggots form?

Flies are attracted to the contents of bins — particularly if there’s food in there — and then, once in the bin, they lay their eggs on the rubbish. The eggs are hard to spot, but they then hatch into maggots, which are much more noticeable.

How to prevent maggots in your dustbin

Here are our top tips for prevention:

  • Maggots can only appear in your wheelie bin if flies have been allowed access, so the most important point is to always keep your bin lid closed. Don’t be tempted to overfill your bin, as this will leave a gap between the top of the bin and the lid. Consider fitting a wheelie bin lock for peace of mind that the waste container is always inaccessible to unwanted guests. 
  • Make sure to get your bin emptied regularly — especially if it’s a food waste bin — as the longer the contents are sat there, the more tempting it is to flies.
  • Work on reducing the amount of food waste you produce or consider composting it outside instead.
  • If you need to place food waste in your wheelie bin, you could consider storing it indoors in a sealed container or even in your freezer until collection day. Make sure you always wrap meat and fish up in something appropriate before placing it in the bin, as these are particularly appealing foods for flies.
  • If your dustbin is used to dispose of food packaging, make sure each piece is washed and dried thoroughly before being placed in the bin.
  • Don’t leave food or food waste uncovered in the home or commercial kitchen as, in hot weather, flies can land on it and lay eggs which will then transfer to your wheelie bin. Ensure your indoor food bin has a good seal too as flies can get inside and lay their eggs there.
  • In the home, pay particular attention to cat and dog food and don’t leave it out for hours on end.
  • Clean your wheelie bin regularly, inside and out, with a strong-smelling disinfectant to deter flies and therefore stop maggots from appearing.
  • In summer, consider moving your wheelie bin and storing it in a cooler spot or at least out of direct sunlight. When food waste or other waste heats up, it tends to smell more which attracts flies.
  • As an optional extra, you could try using fly spray in and around your bin to prevent flies.
  • Another idea to try is hanging insecticide strips inside your bin — these are sticky traps so flies will stick to them and die.
  • For a more natural approach to repelling flies, light citronella candles near your outdoor wheelie bins. Do bear in mind, though, that you should never leave candles unattended. Also, be careful not to place the candles too close to the bins or anything else that can catch fire.

A yellow wheelie bin being collected and emptied by a man with a waste truck

How to get rid of maggots in a wheelie bin

Once your wheelie bin has been emptied of rubbish, you can get rid of the maggots using the following steps:

  • Kill maggots in your bin instantly by pouring boiling water over them.
  • Disinfect your bin using a good quality bleach to destroy any remaining eggs. Check beforehand that this is safe to use on your specific bin type, as you don’t want to cause more problems by fixing this one.
  • If you don’t wish to wash your own bins, we provide a bin cleaning service in Liverpool and surrounding areas or you will find local bin cleaners if you search online. Give us a call on 0151 547 3156 to find out more about our wheelie bin cleaning service.
  • Follow the advice in the prevention section above to avoid future problems.
  • If you still can’t get the maggot problem under control, you may wish to contact a pest controller.


Do you have any further questions about maggots in your bin? Get in touch with our friendly team today if so.

For ongoing maggot prevention and an odour-free waste container, learn how to clean your wheelie bin.


Article updated on 14/09/21.

Craig Pryce

Craig Pryce

With over 17 years of experience in the waste and recycling industry, Craig is passionate about making recycling easier and reducing the negative impact of litter. He has been the managing director of Wheelie Bin Solutions (WBS) since January 2016, and prides the company on his expert knowledge, top-quality products, and customer service. His proudest moment was when WBS supported the 2012 Olympic Games, working in partnership with Contenur UK to supply over 9000 bin containers to all Olympic venues. Craig is always keen to share his knowledge, so whether you need advice about the benefits of a wheelie bin lock, or ideas for alternative uses for your wheelie bin, Craig will ensure your recycling and waste disposal habits are gold medal worthy.