how to ward off maggots with collection service?

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Melissa Tashjian

Jul 21, 2014, 9:16:31 AM7/21/14
Hey all...

I'm in Milwaukee, WI and just started a hauling company that deals with organics diversion.  I am building my own dumpsters and have a small garbage truck with front loader that I use to do pick-ups.  I can only afford to do a once/week pick up to stay competitively priced.  One of my dumpsters, in a full on sunny location, is starting to experience maggots :(  I have put barnyard lime in the bottom on the dumpster but it is not totally stopping the problem.  I am not experiencing this problem with any of my totes (totes are not getting washed out from what I understand but I am putting lime in the bottom after every pick-up).

I'm hoping I could get some feedback on some possible solutions I have researched.
 sawdust at the bottom of receptacle/dumpster
different colored lid
double bagging ( I would supply bags to get through summer months)
twice/week pick up

I would appreciate any and all feedback.  I would like to continue doing dumpster service with new clients b/c they divert more but will push totes instead (easier to rinse out) if I can't get this maggot thing under control.


thanks :)

Eric Lombardi

Jul 21, 2014, 8:33:33 PM7/21/14
to Melissa Tashjian,, Dale Ekart
Here are some ideas from Dale Ekart, the Eco-Cycle Business Recycling Manager.  His email is provided above in case anyone wants to follow up with him.


To all,

Mother Nature creates some interesting hurdles J.  Regarding the maggot question/issue, we have experienced this in Boulder. 


We’ve done research, studies, experiments with a variety of products, operations and systems.  We did not find any one option that worked well but let me give some insights that we came up with. The catch seems to be that once the temperature goes up to around 50 degrees at night (activity increases the maggot cycle goes from 7-10 days to about 5-7 days.  We also have seen that the tighter the container the better but we do see maggots in carts.  We tried vinegar, commercial products, lime, diatmaous earth, sawdust and a few other items to no real success. Frequency seemed to help some by doing twice per week.  We also went to a service schedule of doing once per week on a Friday or Saturday where the consumer did not put any material into the bins before Monday to see if this helped the 5-7 day cycle.  Bins are also cleaned on a regular basis.  Bagging material helped but not as much as we anticipated.


Please don’t hesitate to call for more thoughts and/or details!


Dale Ekart


Business Recycling Mgr

303-444-6634  #109

Eric Lombardi
Executive Director
Eco-Cycle International

From: [] on behalf of Melissa Tashjian []
Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 7:16 AM
Subject: [GreenYes] how to ward off maggots with collection service?

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Nancy Poh

Jul 22, 2014, 2:38:54 AM7/22/14
to Melissa Tashjian,
Hi Melissa

I feel for you.  I used to throw my rubbish in a big bin but stopped doing that when I have to clean up the maggots.

I see a lot of good suggestions from:

extracted some:
the "lime" we're talking about is a bit different from the fruit, lime. The lime you should be using in this instance is the calcium-rich lime (calcium-oxide or calcium-hydroxide).

Flood the maggots with a mixture of water and vinegar. Maggots find a water-vinegar mixture uninhabitable, which means that cleaning with water and vinegar will also help prevent a re-infestation in the future.

Use a product that contains permethrin. Permethrin is a synthetic chemical that is used as an insecticide, insect repellent or an acaricide. Usually used to kill scabies and lice, it comes in liquid (shampoo) and cream form.[1] For the simplest solution, boil some water, add a dog shampoo with Permethrin in it, and dump over any maggots.

...dumping bleach into a trash can, close the lid and let the fumes of the bleach suffocate the maggots. 
Sprinkle some diatomaceous earth over the maggots. Diatomaceous earth is a sedimentary rock with a wide range of cleaning and insecticide applications. (It's especially good for treating fleas!) Sprinkle some diatomaceous earth over the maggots and wait for them to meet their end. Diatomaceous earth sticks to the maggots exoskeleton and slowly dehydrates them. The maggots then ultimately die of water pressure deficiency. 

Introduce moth balls into your trash can strategically. Mothballs are chemically treated orbs that are filled with insecticides. If you place one or two mothballs at the bottom of your trash can and regularly close the lid to the trashcan, they can be effective at repelling intruders.

Use some essential oils. Peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and bay leaves are all reputedly excellent at repelling flies and maggots.

Wrap excess meat and fish before you toss it. Wrap bones, scales, fat, and even meat tightly with paper towels before introducing it into the trash. If flies can't get at it, they'll have a difficult time laying eggs.

Maintain a dry trash can as much as possible. Maggots really like moisture, so take it away from them. Make sure your trash bags aren't leaky, you don't miss the trash bag, and any moisture that does make it to the bottom of the bin gets wicked away as soon as possible.

If you want to get rid of the maggots, you’re going to have to kill their parents. Check out the "Maggot Control Products" at the end of the article 

A note of interest from reading "What Causes Maggots": The tiny larvae are used in wound therapy and are the first live creatures to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration as a medical device.
More here:

goddess of rot

Jul 22, 2014, 4:37:21 PM7/22/14
Hi everyone!
I have experience managing large quantities of food waste. I hope you'll find my advice helpful.
I agree with the tip to reduce the moisture - look for opportunities to add brown (carbon-rich)/dry materials to the organic waste stream, such as paper towels, fallen leaves, straw, wood chips or shavings, sawdust or similar.
Also, if possible, keep the heap of material covered with something - such as the materials I listed above, or even a layer of finished compost. Reducing the exposure of the food to the air will reduce the maggot activity.
I do NOT recommend adding chemicals or any substance that would interfere with whatever process or finished product the material is destined for - it's best to keep it natural.
Finally, what's the problem with maggots anyway? Besides how creepy they are :).
goddess of rot

Dan Knapp

Jul 23, 2014, 5:45:27 PM7/23/14
to goddess of rot,
Lime shouldn't be a problem.  It's a nutrient that farmers use to reduce soil acidity.  Some plants like acid soils:  rhododendrons, azaleas, fir trees, etc.  Others like soils that are more basic.  

Maggots appear when flies get access to high-nutrient food.  Maggots themselves become food when added to an active compost pile with lots of different active decomposers.

Maggots used to be used by doctors to clean out wounds that become infected.  They eat the decomposed flesh and leave the parts that are not dead. 

That said, they are yucky and good compost management tries to avoid conditions that breed maggots.

Dan Knapp
An active composter for six decades.

Blair Pollock

Jul 24, 2014, 9:02:23 AM7/24/14
to Dan Knapp, goddess of rot,
Experience at Orange Co NC food waste cart drop off site w weekly pickup did not show sporadic liming -- maybe 2-3x / wk to deter maggots or flies maybe it wasn't enough? This year we'll cover w/ mulch too daily at least 

Sent from my iPhone

Nancy Poh

Jul 25, 2014, 3:24:31 AM7/25/14
to Blair Pollock, Dan Knapp, goddess of rot,
If you are thinking of getting rid of the cause for maggots...

I googled "fly baiting system" and discovered how to build a vintage fly trap
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