Maggots in your food waste bin?

Maggots in your food waste bin?

Indoor food waste bins (also known as kitchen bins or compost bins) have become a popular addition to Californian homes. They are a great way to collect food scraps and divert food waste from landfills, but they can sometimes attract pest insects like maggots, ants, and fruit flies. Below are some tips for keeping a pest-free food waste bin:

  • Empty and clean indoor food waste bins frequently. Dump the food waste into your outdoor compost pile, drop it off at a composting facility, or place it into your municipal green waste bin. Emptying your indoor bin frequently (even if it's not full) can make it less attractive to pests and prevent flies from developing inside. Once empty, rinse the bin and clean it with soap and water before putting it back on the counter. Be sure to check the bin for any fly maggots or pupae stuck to the sides; scrape them off if found.
  • Keep your bin or food scraps in the freezer. Putting your food waste in the freezer prevents it from breaking down and smelling. It can also kill any pest insects and prevents them from infesting your food waste bin.
  • Place food scraps in a paper bag, wrap in newspaper, or use a compostable bag before placing in your organics or green waste bin for collection. Don't use a regular plastic bag since these are not biodegradable. This can keep the inside of your bins cleaner, but also reduce moisture which maggots need to survive. Excess moisture can also make your bin smell.
  • Choose a bin with a tight-fitting lid. Prevent pests from being able to get into the bin by choosing a food waste bin with a secure lid. If your bin has ventilation holes at the top, choose an appropriately sized charcoal filter to cover the openings. Inspect the filter frequently for any fly maggots or pupae.

For more information about controlling indoor pests, visit the UC IPM household pests page.

Check with your local composting program for more tips on maintaining a food waste bin or visit CalRecycle's Organic Materials Management website at


By Lauren Fordyce
Author - Urban and Community IPM Educator