Maggots are fly larvae, usually of the common housefly and also the bluebottle. Flies are attracted to food and other rubbish; they lay their eggs on the rubbish; later the eggs hatch into maggots. You will only have a problem with maggots if flies can get to your waste.

If flies settle on your rubbish they may lay eggs which can hatch out as maggots within 24 hours. (Therefore the frequency of refuse collections is irrelevant).

Householders are responsible for their own household waste and for the hygiene at their home; including their bins.

How can I reduce the risk of maggots?

  • The first step is to make sure that flies can’t get at your rubbish; in fact wheelie bins are much better at keeping flies out than black bin bags.
  • Fly spray can be effective at helping with flies, but these must be purchased by the householder.
  • Try to reduce the amount of food wasted (visit
  • If you have a green and a grey wheeled bin, in hot weather you may prefer to get a weekly collection of food waste by alternating which bin you put it in; i.e. one week in the green bin and the next week in the grey bin.
  • Never leave food uncovered inside the home – this includes cat/dog food – remember flies may lay eggs on exposed food and in warm weather the eggs can hatch within 24 hours
  • Rinse polystyrene food trays and other food packaging that can’t be recycled before you put it in the bin, this will also reduce bad odours
  • Squeeze out the air from bags and tie them tightly
  • Any food scraps, pet waste, nappies should be double wrapped
  • If possible leave the bin out of direct sunshine
  • Ensure the bin lid is closed
  • Hang insecticide strips inside your bin to help control flies
  • Try using Citronella – a natural remedy used in gardens. This will discourage flies as they don’t like the smell.
  • Remember, flies will also be attracted to recycling material if they aren’t clean – so please make sure all food cans, bottles and jars are rinsed
  • If disposable nappies are in your rubbish, empty ‘solids’ down the toilet
  • Ensure your kitchen bin has a close fitting lid – ‘swing top’ lids can let flies in.

What can I do about maggots in my bin?

  • Try using fly-spray
  • Pour over boiling water with a small amount of bleach
  • Most of the maggots will go when the bin is emptied. Once emptied the bin can be cleaned out with disinfectant or bleach and plenty of water. Use a cleaning product with a fragrance as this will help deter flies in the future.
  • If you do not want to wash out your bins - look in the local telephone directories/free papers for a professional bin cleaning company

Can maggots cause health problems?

Maggots are unpleasant but there is no evidence to suggest that they cause health problems. Flies are all around no matter what type of collection service is in operation. The best approach is to be careful with your waste and ensure that flies can’t get to it by following the advice above. 

My household has problems with excess rubbish - can you offer any help?

We can offer advice if you are struggling to fit all of your non-recyclable rubbish into your grey bin or refuse sacks, particularly for large households or households with children using disposable nappies.