How to Prevent Pest Infestation in Outdoor Dumpsters

bugs swarming a dumpster

Although dumpsters are an efficient means for getting rid of garbage, they can also attract unwanted visitors-namely, pesky animals looking for their next meal. These pests can range from a mere annoyance to dangerous and poisonous, with some even carrying diseases. This makes it extremely useful to know how to prevent pest infestation in outdoor dumpsters.

A pest infestation can cause significant damage to your dumpster’s contents-not to mention disruptions in sanitary and health conditions. Many of these pests will make a big mess of your trash, leaving you with a huge cleanup job when they’re done. There are measures you can take to prevent pest infestation in outdoor dumpsters and keep the area safe.

Common Types of Pests That Invade Dumpsters


They are cute and curious and can be incredibly persistent when scavenging for food. Raccoons are known to tear into bags of trash or pull out large objects like cans and bottles. They are notorious for transmitting rabies and other illnesses, thus posing a substantial health hazard to people and animals alike.

racoon with teeth showing next to an outdoor dumpster

Rats and Mice 

These small rodents can squeeze through the tiniest openings to enter your dumpster. Once they find a food source, they’ll be back with plenty of friends, creating a full-blown infestation. Rats and mice are known to be carriers of diseases such as plague, hantavirus, and rat-bite fever.

dozens of rats group together bk they didn't know how to prevent pest infestation in outdoor dumpsters


Rotten food is a magnet for flies, cockroaches, and other pests; the foul smell of decomposition draws them to dumpsters like moths to a flame. Aside from being a nuisance, they can also spread bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illnesses in humans. Some insects are nocturnal, so you won’t be able to tell when they’re lurking in your garbage. Once they’ve infiltrated your home, it can be hard to eliminate them completely.

cockroaches are one of the most disgusting bugs to find in a dumpster


These tiny insects can be a nuisance to anyone trying to keep their garbage in check. They’re attracted to the sugary residue and can quickly take over your dumpster. Plus, they often carry pathogens from other pests, which can spread to your home and cause health issues.

ants swarming another bug


These animals may look cute and harmless, but they can spread fleas and diseases like the plague to other animals and humans. They have a notorious reputation for scavenging through trash cans to find sustenance and shelter. If you have an opossum in your area, it’s best to call pest control services, which can safely and humanely remove the animal from your property.

Opossum looking for food in an outdoor dumpster

Bears and Other Large Animals

These large creatures can create quite a mess if they enter your dumpster. Their strong claws and jaws can rip through trash bags and leave a huge mess behind. Plus, they can also cause harm to nearby humans and animals alike.

black bears are one of the larger animals found in texas


Birds can be attracted to the scent of food in dumpsters. They’re especially fond of garbage that contains fish, fruit, or vegetables. Ensure you keep the area clean and tidy by regularly removing or covering up any food scraps.

vulture dumpster diving
Image source: Reddit

Tips for Preventing Pest Infestation in Outdoor Dumpsters

Regardless of what size of dumpster you have on-site, it’s always possible to attract pests. With some effort, you can easily ward off pesky infestations and reduce unpleasant messes and unappealing odors. Here are some tips for keeping pests out of your outdoor dumpster:

1. Keep the dumpster at least 50 feet away from your residence:

The further the dumpster is from your residence, the less likely that pests will make their way inside and the less likely that odors and noise will be a nuisance. Placing the dumpster at least 50 feet away (preferably 100 feet) from your residence ensures that you can enjoy the convenience of having a dumpster on-site without being disturbed by its presence. To ensure you abide by your municipality’s rules, thoroughly review any ordinances regulating the distance between a dumpster and nearby residential or commercial property. Fulfilling this requirement is critical for compliance with local laws.

2. Keep the area around the dumpster clear and free of debris:

For the optimal use of your dumpster, ensure that it is standing on a level surface like concrete, and be sure to keep its surroundings free from any debris or mess, such as leaves, branches, and litter. Doing this can prevent pest infestation and make it easier for waste management personnel to collect and empty the garbage. If you have a dumpster located in an area with large amounts of foliage, ensure to inspect the area regularly and clear away any debris that may have accumulated. 

3. Keep the dumpster covered and secured:

Limiting access to the dumpster safeguards it from unwanted visitors and other dumping activities. A lockable lid prevents unauthorized access and the spread of garbage from animals or the wind.

Raccoons are cunning enough to easily break into closed trash cans but not secured with locks. If your dumpster is located in a public area or has the potential to be accessed by animals, consider installing metal garbage bins with locking lids or chain-link fencing with a padlock to ensure the dumpster is secure.

4. Repel critters with scents:

Spearmint, castor, and peppermint oils are odors that digging and burrowing animals, such as skunks, rats, and raccoons, find unpleasant. Ammonia is irritating to many animals, and spraying the solution around the dumpster will not only kill insects but also ward off larger pests.

5. Scare away animals:

Set up deterrents such as motion-activated lights, ultrasonic noise makers, or sprinkler systems to discourage animals from entering the area. Nocturnal animals are especially sensitive to light and sound, so these devices can be especially useful in keeping them away.

6. Regularly inspect the dumpster:

Checking your dumpster periodically can help you detect any signs of pest activity and take the appropriate measures to address them. Be sure to look for signs such as droppings, burrows, chewed-up lids or edges, and any other evidence of animals. Be cognizant of any initial signs of infestation, and don’t hesitate to quickly contact a professional pest control specialist.

Do your duty!

For the health and safety of those in close proximity, it is essential to take proactive steps to prevent pest infestation in outdoor dumpsters. You can effectively prevent and manage pest infestation in outdoor dumpsters by implementing proper maintenance, waste management, and pest control practices. Waste management companies, businesses, and citizens must join forces to ensure responsible waste disposal practices are followed.

Whether you’re in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Garland, San Antonio, Waco, Corpus Christi, or the surrounding areas, we have the perfect waste disposal solutions for you. Contact us today for any questions on dumpster service, or business garbage disposal.

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