What pests does your rubbish attract? - PEST UK

Providing pest control services in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, London, Middlesex, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, West Midlands, West Sussex, Wiltshire. Est. 1985.

What pests does your rubbish attract?

In Pests

Almost all pests are constantly looking for their next food source. And for some, their closest and most convenient is your rubbish. As well as a hearty meal, your rubbish could be providing a new nesting spot for many pests too.

Pests benefit from commercial property waste too. Restaurants, takeaways and supermarkets regularly throw away tons of food. The bin areas of these establishments are often a hot spot for many pests.

Inside or outside of your property, allowing rubbish to accumulate is only an invitation to infestation. Whether it’s a domestic or commercial premise, let’s take a look at some of the most common pests your rubbish is attracting – inside and out.




Firstly, the most common pest to be attracted to overflowing or poorly sealed rubbish outside are rodents, in particular – rats. Rats are constantly searching for their next meal and will eat whatever they can get their hands on, especially food waste. As well as a filling feast, rubbish that remains untouched is often used as nesting for these rodents too. 

A build-up of refuse and delayed bin collections are a perfect equation for a rat infestation. In colder temperatures, rats will seek refuge in warm and dry places close to a food source. This means properties with an excess of waste outside are ideal – be it domestic or commercial. As one of the most mischievous pests, rats can squeeze through tiny holes and gnaw through thick materials. We recommend double-checking your bins are completely rodent-proof – free from any holes and tightly sealed. 

Rats are extremely destructive and can spread harmful diseases so any sign of infestation should be dealt with professionally as soon as possible. 



Pigeons are synonymous with scavenging for food in town and city centres. Although their diet isn’t as nutritious as the foods they would eat in the wild, pigeons will eat pretty much any food they can find in the rubbish – especially anything with grains, seeds or fruits. Overflowing public bins and litter in public parks are incredibly inviting for these flying pests. Many aren’t afraid to wait until you leave your lunch spot before making their move. 

As well as rummaging through public waste, pigeons can also be found near rubbish around the home. Pigeons have sharp claws and tough beaks that allow them to tear open exposed plastic bin bags if there’s food worth searching for inside. Pigeons can spread disease through their droppings so any hint of an infestation should be dealt with.



Born scavengers, urban foxes are not shy of rooting through rubbish. As opposed to rural foxes that have a more sophisticated palette of rodents, rabbits and birds, urban foxes will eat whatever food waste they can find. Signs of urban foxes are pretty clear as they often leave a huge mess. After digging through your outside bins foxes will take their findings back to their dens to share with their young.

Urban foxes have adapted to living in towns and cities and therefore have lost their instinctive fear of humans. This means your outside bins could be a hotspot for these sneaky creatures to return to unless measures are put in place to stop them. 



The marmite of seabirds, seagulls are almost always found on the coasts of the UK. Whether you love or hate them, there’s no denying these birds can become a nuisance on seaside breaks. Whether it’s seaside litter, overflowing public bins or takeaway waste, scavenging seagulls aren’t afraid of swooping down to ground level in search of food. And when tourists have left, they won’t hesitate to tear apart exposed plastic bin bags to hunt for seconds.

Similar to pigeons, seagulls can also spread harmful bacteria so should be avoided where possible.

Whether you own a domestic or commercial property, all outside rubbish needs to be collected regularly to prevent pest infestations. Contact your local council if your refuge collection seems to be delayed and waste is piling up. 




The most common pest attracted to rubbish inside your home is the fly. Many different types of flies invade our homes. Almost all of them have a taste for rotting food waste and overflowing kitchen bins. Not only are flies incredibly unhygienic and can spread diseases, but they also cause maggot infestations. If food waste or overflowing kitchen bins are left unattended for some time, the flies will lay eggs on the rubbish which then turn into maggots. These maggots will eventually grow into more flies causing a vicious circle and an almost uncontrollable infestation. 



Although ants don’t pose much of a health risk to humans, they can cause a nuisance as they enter your home in large numbers. Ants are mostly attracted to sweet food scraps that can be found in kitchen waste. 

When ants discover food, they leave a scented trail for others to follow. If you find a few ants crawling around your rubbish, in no time, these scouts will summon hundreds more to feast upon the contents.



As well as a warm, dry place to shelter, many rodents may work their way inside if a food source cannot be found outside. Rodents, especially mice, can squeeze through extremely tiny holes meaning access to your property may be easier for them than you think.

Many mice are often found in kitchens, especially those with overflowing kitchen bins and exposed food waste. Contrary to popular beliefs, mice aren’t just attracted to cheese and, like rats, will eat whatever they can find. Mice are also great at gnawing and will chew through bin bags and boxes when searching for their next meal. Although many people are less fearful of mice than rats, both can spread the same harmful diseases. Any rodent infestation, especially one inside of your property, should be dealt with quickly and professionally to eliminate putting your or your family’s health at risk. 



As well as entering homes for shelter and water, cockroaches are attracted to the smells of food waste. Cockroaches are often found in inhabiting kitchens behind and under appliances. With many kitchen bins being only a short journey from their new nesting spot, kitchen waste poses an excellent food source for these insects. 

But cockroaches aren’t fussy in terms of what they eat! They have also been known to eat human hair. We recommend keeping an eye out for them in places other than just your kitchen. 


Many pests can carry diseases or bacteria that are harmful to humans so keeping bin areas in check is extremely important. It doesn’t matter how clean your property is – if your bin is overflowing and not properly maintained, you will likely have a problem with pests at some point. 

Bins inside should be emptied regularly, especially any containing food waste. We suggest placing loose food waste in compostable bags and then into your main rubbish bin as an extra layer of protection against pests. Clean the inside and outside of your kitchen and bathroom bins often and opt for one with a lid to prevent creepy crawlies from climbing in. 


Inside or out, growing rubbish piles offer a safe place, protection and food for many pests. If left unattended, smaller pests residing within the rubbish can increase their colony numbers making infestations later on harder to control. 

If you think you have an infestation as a result of rubbish or need advice, call us on 0330 100 2811 or email services@pestuk.com



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