Can Maggots Eat Through Plastic Bags?

I may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking a link on this page. Read the full disclosure policy here

It’s a common question that many people have: can maggots eat through plastic bags? The answer is no, they cannot.

Maggots are actually quite delicate creatures and they need the right kind of environment to survive. They will not be able to digest or decompose plastic bags, so you don’t have to worry about them eating through your trash!

Maggots crawling on brown tiles with black background


Read on to learn more about this pest and how to keep them away from your home, in plastic bags or otherwise!

Can Maggots Eat Through Plastic Bags?

No, maggots cannot eat through plastic bags. This is because they have a very delicate digestive system that can only handle certain types of food. If they try to eat something that they can’t digest, it will make them very sick and could even kill them.

Additionally, if your plastic bag is sealed in an airtight way with no opening for the maggots to get in, they will not be able to get to the food inside and will eventually die.

If the maggots are already in a sealed plastic bag of food waste or trash, they will eventually suffocate. This means that the fly larvae won’t be able to turn into adult flies and will die off.

Why Do Flies Lay Eggs in my Trash Bag?

If you find maggots in your trash bag, it’s most likely because there was already some food waste inside that was attracting them. Once the flies lay their eggs, the maggots will hatch and start to eat.

As mentioned above, sealed plastic bags create effective barriers that prevent maggots from getting in. However, if there is a hole or opening in the bag, they will be able to get inside and start feasting on the food waste.

So try to use small bags to wrap your waste in, which will prevent flies from being able to lay their eggs in them.

Can Fruit Flies Eat Through a Plastic Bag?

A person carrying a white plastic bag with trash where maggots can be in it in green background


Similar to the common household fly or its maggot offspring, fruit flies cannot eat through plastic bags. They have a very similar digestive system that is only designed to handle specific types of food.

However, fruit flies are able to reproduce with even the smallest amount of food, so they can lay their eggs in sealed bags of fruit or other food waste.

The fruit fly maggots will then hatch and start eating the food, which is why you often see them around garbage cans or recycling bins.

Keeping down a fruit fly population can be hard in a trash can since they can live off of the smallest amounts of food. But with proper maintenance, you can limit their numbers.

How Do I Keep Maggots Away From My Trash Can?

Now that you know a little bit more about maggots, you’re probably wondering how to keep them away from your home. The best way to do this is to make sure that there is no food waste around for them to eat.

This means keeping your garbage can as clean as possible.

Here are some of the best tips for keeping maggots away from your trash can:

Keep the Lid of Your Garbage Can Tightly Sealed

The best way to prevent a maggot infestation is by keeping your trash can as sealed as possible. You can invest in a can with a tight-fitting lid, or you can use a bungee cord to keep the lid down.

Make sure to carefully review the manufacturer’s instructions to see if the garbage can is airtight. If it’s not, then you’ll need to take extra steps to prevent flies from getting in.

Take Your Trash Out More Frequently

If you can, try to take your trash out more frequently so that there is less food for the maggots to eat. This will also help reduce the overall smell of your garbage can.

One way to make this an automatic process is by investing in a smaller trash can or by using smaller trash bags.

Wash Out Your Garbage Can Regularly With Hot, Soapy Water

Regularly washing your trash can will not only prevent a maggot infestation, but it will also help keep your home smelling fresh.

You should aim to wash out your garbage can with hot, soapy water at least once a week. If you have a larger family, you may need to do this more frequently.

Soap will help kill any eggs that the flies have laid, and the hot water will prevent them from being able to hatch.

This is a great solution for those who don’t want to use chemicals in their home or have small children or pets present.

Freeze Your Garbage Can

If it’s wintertime and you’re having issues with maggots inside your trash, go ahead and place the whole trash can outdoors. If the temperature is at or below freezing, the maggots will die.

This is a great solution if you’re unable to wash out your garbage can regularly or if you’re dealing with a particularly bad infestation.

It makes it much less gross to deal with when you’re able to simply scoop out the dead maggots instead of having to actively clean wriggling living maggots out of your garbage can.

Pour Salt on the Maggots

Salt is another easy and affordable option for killing maggots without any chemicals or fuss.

All you need to do is sprinkle a layer of salt over the maggots and they will quickly die. You can then scoop them up and dispose of them in the trash.

Disinfect your garbage can afterward to prevent any unseen eggs from hatching and creating the same problem all over again.

Make a Spray Out of Water and Vinegar

Image showing 2 plastic cups and a blue spray bottle with text overlays that read water and vinegar that can be used to kill maggots


Vinegar works well for killing maggots and is a natural disinfectant. It will also help to deodorize your garbage can, which can help to prevent flies from being attracted to it in the first place.

To make this spray, simply mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Then, go ahead and spray the maggots with the solution.

The vinegar will kill them on contact.

Use Boiling Water

If you have nothing on hand, don’t fret. Boiling water will get the job done without anything else needed.

So, if you’re in a pinch, simply boiling a pot of water and pouring it over the maggots will kill them.

This method is great because it’s quick and easy, but you do need to be careful with boiling water. Make sure that you pour it directly on the maggots so that they’re all covered.

You also don’t want to use too much water so that it doesn’t splash and cause any injuries.

Bag Up All Your Food Waste

As we’ve already learned, sealing your food waste in a plastic bag will help prevent flies from getting to it and laying their eggs.

But, what if you don’t have time to take the trash out every day? In this case, you can simply seal up all your food waste in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer.

This will prevent any flies from being able to get to the food and lay their eggs. When you’re ready to take the trash out, simply thaw the bagged food by adding it to your garbage can.

Use a Fly Trap

If you’re having trouble with flies getting into your home in the first place, you may want to consider setting up a fly trap.

This will help to catch any flies that are already inside your home and prevent them from being able to lay their eggs.

There are a variety of different fly traps available on the market, so you should be able to find one that suits your needs. Make sure to place your trap near your trash can so that it’s more likely to attract the flies.

Use Bleach

Most people have bleach in their homes, and this strong chemical can be used to kill maggots.

Be very careful when using bleach, as it can be harmful if you’re not careful. Make sure to wear gloves and a mask when handling bleach.

You should also avoid getting it on your skin or in your eyes.

Make sure to keep the material of your trash can in mind. Certain materials can react with bleach and be damaged by it.

Make a solution by mixing one part of bleach and one part water. You can mix one part bleach with one part water.

Close the bag or container that the maggots are in. Wait 30 minutes for the bleach fumes to kill the maggots.

You can read more about how to do this here: Will Bleach Kill Maggots? YES! Here’s how.

Afterward, be sure to rinse out your garbage can with clean water to remove any residual bleach.

You don’t want this chemical sitting in your trash can because it may continue to erode at the finish of your trash bin.

Use a Pesticide

a hand holding pesticide spray in black background that can use to spray on maggots


If you’re having trouble with maggots, you may want to consider using a pesticide.

Pesticides are designed to kill insects, so they will definitely work on maggots. Be sure to read the label of the pesticide before using it.

You’ll want to make sure that it’s safe to use in the kitchen and around food.

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re using the pesticide according to the directions.

Most pesticides will kill adult flies, maggots, and larvae. However, not all of them will be effective when it comes to killing off the eggs.

So take extra time to make sure that you’ve found a good brand that guarantees to kill all the stages of fly development.

The Bottom Line

In summary, maggots can’t eat their way through plastic bags. So if you do a good job of sealing up your food waste, you shouldn’t have to worry about them getting to it.

There are a variety of different methods that you can use to prevent and kill maggots. So if you find them in your garbage can, don’t panic! Just take a look at the options above and choose the one that’s best for you.

And remember, prevention is always the best method. So be sure to bag up your food waste and take out the trash regularly.

Image showing maggots coming out of an apple layered with plastics with text overlay that reads Can Maggots Eat Through Plastic Bags


About Emma

Hey there! I'm Emma. When I'm not wrangling kids I like to walk aimlessly around hardware stores and watch HGTV for hours on end.