to Account
Call Us
(844) 585-5517

How to Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans

Written by Aptive Environmental October 20, 2022

Depending on where you live, you may be familiar with managing pest-ridden garbage cans. What many city-dwellers and suburbians don’t realize though, is how easy it is for their own trash cans to become home to opportunistic pests. Allowing bugs to live in your outdoor trash bins can make your house vulnerable to a pest infestation. Let’s take a look at the importance of keeping your garbage free of pests, ensure you know the dangers that come with a pest-infested garbage can, and explore what you can do to bug-proof these containers.

The Dangers of a Bug-Infested Trash Can

When you hear about pests getting into trash cans, your first thought likely goes to raccoons. And while these large animals are notorious for invading trash cans in the night, other pests like ants, flies, rats, wasps, and cockroaches are drawn to the decaying food stored in these containers.

In addition to being a nuisance, these pests can bring harmful diseases and destruction to your property. Rodents contaminate food and can chew through electrical wires and drywall, while cockroaches and flies spread germs and diseases. These pests reproduce very quickly and seek out dark, warm areas like garbage cans, so these containers can quickly become home to hundreds of harmful critters. These techniques can help to protect both your trash cans and property from pests.

Ways to Pest-Proof Your Trash Can

Keep all garbage in bags

While it may seem redundant to put garbage in a closed bag just to place it in a larger container, loose food and wrappers are exactly what attract annoying pests. Use a heavy-duty trash bag to transport all thrown-out food, and if possible, avoid putting bags that contain food waste in your outdoor trash cans until a night or two before trash pick-up day.

Clean containers before throwing them out

In the same vein, flies, ants, and rodents can smell the leftover food in takeout boxes or plastic containers. Flies, in particular, can smell rotting food from over four miles away. If your old takeout containers retain a strong stench, thoroughly rinse these containers before placing them in the trash to prevent attracting pests to your garbage bins overnight.

Secure the lid

If waiting to toss old food until trash day isn’t an option for you, properly secure the trash can’s lid. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a short bungee cord. Simply hook the cord onto one side of the trash can handle and stretch it over the lid, attaching it to the opposite handle. While some larger may still be able to work their way into the trash can, this will prevent any smaller critters and insects from entering through the main opening.

Repair holes or replace

There’s no point in investing the time to secure your trash can lids if the rest of the container is ridden with cracks and holes. These holes practically encourage ants and cockroaches to sneak into your garbage cans and infest your trash. First, fully wipe down your garbage cans with a distilled white vinegar and water solution and then rinse out with a hose. After sanding the damaged areas, apply fiberglass reinforcement tape from the inside of the can and then spread epoxy to the hole from the outside. It may seem like a lengthy process, but going this extra step will help you avoid a cockroach infestation in the future.

Install motion-detectors

Many critters, and even some small pests, are easily frightened by bright, sudden lights. Motion-detecting lights can help fend off any creatures that try to sneak in your garbage cans after it gets dark. Not only is this an effective pest control investment, but it’s also a good security measure for deterring potential intruders.

Buy or construct an enclosure

If you’re really worried about larger rodents invading your trash cans, invest in an enclosure for the area where you keep the bins. Homeowners in the country may find it useful to invest in a heavy-duty, metal enclosure to keep all types of animals out of the trash, but for city dwellers, a small, plastic shed should have the same impact. A simpler solution is to tie your garbage cans to a pole or tree. It may not keep small bugs from getting inside, but it will deter raccoons from knocking the bins over and rummaging through your trash.

Spray ammonia

When it comes to all-around pest control, ammonia is hard to beat. Not only does this gas ward off raccoons with its smell, but the ingredients in the solution are also capable of killing cockroaches within minutes. However, we recommend only using this chemical for outdoor purposes, ammonia has been found to irritate both us and our pets. For use in your outdoor trash cans, mix one part ammonia with one part water and spread using a spray bottle. Make sure all of your windows are shut before spraying the mixture, however, as the chemical has quite a pungent smell.

Place trash cans far away from home

Even if you follow every tip on this list, it’s possible some pests will still find their way into your trash cans. The best way to ensure they don’t make the move from your trash cans to the inside of your home is to keep them as far away from your home’s structure as possible. These clever pests can find their way inside through any sized crack or hole in your house’s foundation. Keeping the bins far away from your home will help prevent pests from sneaking indoors.Following these eight techniques is the best course of action for bug-proofing your trash cans. However, the best way to fully get rid of these lingering pests is with Aptive Environmental’s professional and effective service. If you need help eliminating a bug infestation in your trash cans or need assistance with another pest issue, give your local Aptive branch a call today and receive a free quote.

Curated articles for you, from our pest experts.

Ant On Wet Leaf.

Pest Control: The Lifecycle of Pests

Pests are a nuisance to homeowners, and can cause a lot of damage to property, as well as health risks to humans and pets. To effectively control pests, it is important to understand their lifecycle and behavior. In this article, we will explore the lifecycle of...

Feb 17, 2023
Lovebug 2 1

Lovebugs: Facts, Identification, and How to Treat Them

Lovebugs: these small insects may seem harmless, but they can quickly become a nuisance in the southeastern United States. With their unique mating behavior and rapid reproduction, lovebugs can swarm in large numbers during certain times of the year. But what...

Feb 12, 2024
A Guide To Rat Control And Identification 1

The Rodent Riddle: A Guide to Rat Control and Identification

In the corners of homes and urban landscapes, rats lurk as stealthy intruders, capable of causing damage and spreading disease. Recognizing the signs of a rat infestation and understanding effective control measures are crucial for maintaining a more pest protected...

Feb 5, 2024
How To Treat Mice 1 1

How to Treat Mice in the Home

Mice, those elusive yet troublesome creatures, have a knack for infiltrating our living spaces and turning a minor annoyance into a full-blown infestation. Understanding their characteristics and behavior is pivotal in effectively controlling these invaders....

Jan 29, 2024
Wasp Activity 1

Wasp Control: Understanding and Managing Wasp Activity

The wasp – a winged menace that always seems to be around, threatening you and your family, and seeking to stake its claim under your eaves, in your rock walls, or in your garden or back yard. While wasps come with their own set of concerns, understanding their...

Jan 23, 2024
Paper Wasp Control 1 1

Understanding and Controlling Paper Wasps

In the intricate tapestry of nature, paper wasps play a crucial role, contributing to the balance of ecosystems by preying on various pests. However, when these buzzing architects decide to build their intricate nests in and around our homes, they can quickly turn from fascinating insects to potential pests.

Jan 8, 2024
Winter Pest Control 1

Why You Need Pest Control in the Winter As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, many people tend to believe that pests die off during winter. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In fact, winter can be a time of heightened pest movement as...

Dec 4, 2023
Aptive Employee Standing In The Front Yard Talking To A Customer.

What to Do After a Pest Control Treatment by Aptive

Most homeowners know the importance of receiving routine pest control treatments each quarter, but not all know that the actions you take immediately following a treatment can directly determine its success. As the homeowner, make sure you’re taking full advantage...

Sep 15, 2022
Do You Need Pest Control In The Winter?

Do You Need Pest Control in the Winter?

Pest control is a successful way that millions of people reduce bugs in their homes. It’s common to use pest services during warm months, but it’s just as important to stay protected and prepared during the winter. Many people actually notice an increase of...

Aug 22, 2022
Diy Pest Control

DIY Pest Control Pros and Cons

When you’ve asked other people about what they do for their home pest control, you've probably had a lot of mixed responses. It seems like there are more people doing DIY pest control than ever before, and you're starting to wonder if it's something you should...

Jul 19, 2021

Take back your home with pest control today.