How to Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans

You take out the trash late one evening only to find trash scattered all around your garbage cans. There’s only one explanation – you have pests in your garbage cans. And they are making a huge mess. 

How do you keep pests away from garbage cans? You know that you can keep pests out of your home by keeping it clean and getting rid of any trash, but garbage cans are designed to have trash in them, and honestly, they never smell good. So what on earth do you do to keep your garbage cans pest-free?

Fortunately, just like your indoor pest control efforts, there are simple things you can do to make your garbage cans pest-proof, from hiring professional pest control services to being picky about your garbage bags. But first, let’s look at why pests are attracted to garbage cans in the first place.

Why Pests Are Attracted to Garbage Cans

 Most pests that get into garbage cans are ones that are highly attracted to smell. This includes rats and mice and even raccoons. Other pests, like cockroaches, are attracted to things that are decomposing or moist. Overall, pests in your garbage cans are just looking for food, so you could have pests that honestly range from ants to bears.

Knowing this, you can take steps to make your garbage cans less attractive to pests, and you can make your best efforts to deter pests from scavenging in your garbage cans. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

How to Keep Pests Away From Your Garbage Cans

1. Keep Lids Covering the Garbage

One of the best ways to deter pests from getting into your garbage cans is to keep them well covered. There are various reasons garbage can lids end up open instead of closed. This can include anything from leaving them open for convenience to being blown open by a windstorm or even sitting open because the garbage can is overflowing.

The problem is when the garbage can lid is open, there is not much, if anything, to deter pests from your trash. It’s like an open invitation to a feast and no one is going to turn that down. So you need to find ways to keep the garbage can lids closed.

Of course, sometimes the tests themselves are the reason the lid ends up open. A really determined pest like a rat might push the lid open if they possibly can, and bigger pests, like raccoons, would have no trouble doing so. To keep pests from pushing open the lids themselves, you can put some sort of restraint on the lid, such as a bungee cord, to hold it closed. This might make taking the trash out a little more inconvenient for you, but it will keep the pests out. While this isn’t as effective as professional pest control services, it is still one of the best ways to keep your garbage cans pest-free.

2. Use Strong Garbage Bags

If pests get into the garbage cans themselves, the last thing you want is for them to be able to easily access the trash inside. When they commonly find food inside, scavenging the trash cans will become a habit, and then it will be even harder to get rid of them. 

To keep pests out of the trash itself, make sure you are using trash bags and that the trash bags are strong bags. The stronger the bags, the fewer pests can get inside. While this can help deter pests from making a mess of your trash, it isn’t a perfect solution. Sometimes they can still chew through the bags if they really want to get to the trash inside. But if there is food that’s easier to get to, they will probably go for that first, so the bags can serve a helpful purpose.

3. Diminish the Smell of Garbage 

Because smell is one of the biggest things attracting pests to your garbage can, it’s definitely something you should focus your efforts on. Anything that could give off a rotting smell can be sealed up tightly in a bag so the smell isn’t as obvious. If containers have food remnants left on them, rinse them off before throwing them away.

Then there’s the garbage can itself. It’s really a dirty job, but sometimes the garbage can needs to be washed, or at the very least rinsed out. Unfortunately, it is one of the best ways to diminish the smell of the garbage, so it is worth the effort at least once in a while, especially if you are having a lot of problems with pests in your garbage. 

4. Set Out Traps or Poison

If you’re finding a lot of mice and rats around your garbage cans, you may want to consider setting out traps or poison to try and shrink the population of rodents. Rodents can be one of the most annoying pests in your garbage cans, and they can be harmful in some cases too. Rodents can spread diseases to humans, and if you came into contact with rats or their droppings while taking care of the trash, you could become seriously sick.

So to make sure that you’re as safe as possible from rodents, it may be worth setting out traps for them. Doing so may not entirely get rid of the problem, because they’re not as effective as professional pest control services, but they should at least help. You could try setting out traps for other pests, particularly insects, but it may be harder to target the specific insects in your trash cans and the traps would probably have less effect on an insect population than they would on a rodent population.

5. Hire Professional Pest Control Services

A great thing to do to keep pests away from your garbage cans is to hire professional pest control services. Professional treatments will not only ensure that the pests don’t move from your garbage cans to your house but can also help minimize the population of pests trying to get into your garbage cans. If asked, pest control professionals can give extra attention to the area around your garbage cans. 

If you want the strongest pest control prevention, first opt for professional pest control services. You should still make sure to do your own simple efforts, so your efforts combined with professional efforts will make an even bigger difference. 

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