test alt text
Maybe not teddy bears, but you get the idea!

Living in an area that is surrounded on three sides by wilderness on the Eglin Air Force Base Range means thats Niceville, Valparaiso and Bluewater Bay residents are at a higher risk for bear encounters. Luckily, there are several things you can do to keep bears out of your trash can!That’s good news, because the bears in northwest Florida are out of hibernation – and they are hungry!

RELATED: Trash Rates to Rise Slightly for Niceville Residents

That means we are likely due for photos and videos from deer cameras or phone cameras on social media of local bears rummaging through our trash carts.

RELATED: Trash Pickup Costs Rise in Bluewater Bay

Here are 7 inexpensive ways to keep bears out of your trash!

how can I keep bears out of my trash can or cart?


Inexpensive Tip number 1: Clean Your Grill

Did you have a bar-b-que or cookout recently?

As you might have guessed, bears can smell that cookin’ from a long ways away. They are often late to these parties (after all, like some introverts, humans make them nervous) but they do eventually show up.

In order to make sure you don’t have any late, uninvited guests – clean the fats oils and grease off your Big Green Egg, Weber or Napoleon Grill.

As an unintended result, you may have a ‘happy wife, happy life’ situation spring up from the clean and orderly way the patio is left behind after a fiesta as well!

Free Advice Number 2: Rinse and Repeat

Bears are attracted to your home by scents. (we will probably mention that about 340,439 times in this article).

That means the more food and drink smells you can get out of your trash, the more your house will look like a scary human-fortress and less it will look like a ‘Bear-ger King’.

Rinse off all of the plasticware, cans and bottles you trash before you throw them away. By rinsing them off, the less there is to smell. The less there is to smell – the less the bears will want to be there.

No Cost Idea Number 3: Remove Hummingbird Feeders To Disincentivize Bears

If you’ve ever seen the old Winnie the Pooh cartoons – they are available at the Niceville Library, no doubt – you’ll know that all bears love sweet foods, like beignets from Cafe Bienville or a pastry from Tango 3. They also love that lemonade-like sugar water mix that you put inside of hummingbird feeders.

If you know for a fact that you have a bear in your neighborhood, like we had over in the Deer Moss Creek and Huntington neighborhoods last year, it means now is the time to take down your hummingbird feeders.

Bears are attracted to these items. if you don’t take them down, they will only start to look for more sweet foods once they are on your property.

Inexpensive Tip Number 4: Don’t Store Trash Outside or on the Deck of Your House

It can be tempting to store your trash cart on the side of the house, on your deck, or somewhere else outside.

But, you should really consider storing it indoors if possible.

Now, we know, trash cans can smell awful, especially in Summer.

And we are willing to bet that’s a major reason you don’t want to do something like that.

Never fear our friends at Adams Sanitation put together several ways you can eliminate the stink from your cart.

Free-99 Idea Number 5: Use Each Bear Encounter as a Learning Lesson.

If you have a deer camera, or another way to safely watch what the bear is doing when it pays you a visit, watch the video.

Typically, you will be able to spot what it is the bear is doing to get into your trash easily, as well as what it wants.

Once you find out what the bear is after, you can eliminate that temptation for the marsupial. (sorry, had to use the word ‘marsupial’ once)

Idea Number 6: Put Out Carts As Close As You Can To Pickup Time

Putting your cart out for regular pickup as close as you can to pickup time gives bears less opportunities to sift through your trash. Waste Management picks up trash in Bluewater Bay and Niceville Fl – while Valpariaso uses city staff to take care of its twice-weekly trash pickup service.

test alt text
Taking out the recycling or trash as close to pickup time as possible reduces bears chances of getting into it!
Valparaiso Florida Trash Pickup Days

The City of Valparaiso has twice-weekly trash pickup within the city limits. There are two seperate schedules – one for Monday-Thursday pickup and one for Tuesday-Friday Pickup. So it’s to understand why you might want to ask “when are my trash days in Valparaiso, Florida?”

•The areas in red have Monday and Thursday trash pickup in Valparaiso. That includes the area south of Tom’s Bayou, The area in the triangle between Valparaiso Parkway, John Sims Parkway and SR-85 (called government street). Additionally, the area of the city to the north of the Elite 850 Volleyball Academy is picked up on Monday and Thursday.

The Areas in the blue have Tuesday and Friday garbage collection in Valparaiso. those areas include the portion of the city between SR-85 and the 850 Elite Volleyball Gym as well as most of the area south of Valparaiso boulevard.



This article was adapted from a blog post created by Adams Sanitation, a trash pickup company from Milton and Pace in Santa Rosa County.

Download our app to stay in the know about niceville

Support local news. get cool stuff.

We’ve never needed local news more than we have today. With newspapers going out of business and fewer reporters around to watchdog local government, cover events or sports, and make sure you know what’s going on in your community


Donate today to keep local, independent and accountable journalism in your community today


Plus, we’ll give you some cool swag when you make your donation monthly

Keep Up With Niceville News

Stop scrolling social media to find out what’s going on in Niceville. Sign up for our weekly newsletter for the info impacting your daily life!

Boat on a Bayou