How to Keep Rats Away from Your Garden?
Imagine this, it’s a warm sunny day, great weather with lovely wind, you go out to enjoy the day in your garden, but you find out it’s infested with rats! Your lovely plants and bushes are suffering because of the vermin and you don’t know what to do about it. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you completely covered.
In this article we have talked about how you can detect if you have a rat problem in your garden, why it’s important to make sure you get rid of the rat infestation, and how you can get rid of it. So, if you’re worried that there might be rats scuttling around in your lovely garden, then continue reading this article.
Why You Should Get Rid of The Rats in Your Garden
Let’s start with why it’s important that you don’t have rats in your garden. This way, even if you don’t have a rat problem right now, you’ll make sure the pest stays away from your garden for good!
The biggest reason why you should get rid of rats from your garden is their ability to spread various dangerous diseases. One of the most serious disease rats can cause is Leptospirosis, which can ultimately lead to Weil’s disease. Other diseases spread by rats include hantavirus and rabbit fever. Having rats in your garden is a big health risk for you, your family, and even your pets, so make sure you get rid of the vermin.
Having a rat problem in your garden puts you and your loved ones at an increased risk of coming in direct contact with the a rat, and getting bitten by the rodent.
Rats can be harmful to the structure and beauty of your garden. They can cause damage to construction materials like wood, bricks, concrete, and even some metals. As a result, they can cause harm to your garden infrastructure like fences and garden sheds.
Now that you know some important reasons why it‘s advisable not to have rats in your garden, we can move onto the next topic, that is:
How to Detect Signs of Rats in Your Garden
Rats are sneaky, nocturnal animals, so it’s unlikely that you’ll run into them during the day. So, it can get difficult to tell if you do have a rat infestation on your hands or not. Fortunately, there are some obvious tell-tale signs of rats living in your garden. All you’ll need is 10 to 15 mins of your time to thoroughly investigate your garden and its surrounding area. Below we have given a complete list of indicators that suggest there might be rats infesting your garden. Read the list, and if the signs start checking off, then know you have a problem to deal with.
Coming across rat droppings in your garden is one of the biggest tell-tale signs that rats are scurrying around your property.
Rats are able to produce up to 40 droppings per night because of how much they defecate. Rat poop is dark brown in colour, and resembled a large rice grain that 9-14 mm large. If you come across such faeces in your garden or anywhere near your property, then it might be a giveaway sign of rats in your garden.
Rats need nests to multiply and take care of their young ones. They prefer to build nests in dry places that are hidden from predators and have food sources nearby, such as sewers. An example of such a source can be bird feeders, so if you have any in your garden, try hunting for a nest in that area. The nest may look like piles of wood stacked on each other. Rats are also attracted towards clutter like cardboard waste, paper and cloths.
Burrows are another living spot for rats and their presence in your garden is a giveaway sign that rats might be living in your garden. In fact, coming across burrows may also suggest the kind of rats that are there in your garden.
Brown rats are known for their fast and efficient digging skills. A burrow is a space to hide, save food, and raise their young ones for this species.
Burrows are commonly found in places that have easy access to food. Such convenient spots may include, places close to the compost bin, inside the garage, near a garden shed, and under decking or other kinds of shelters.
Bite Marks on Garden Hoses
Rats have commendable gnawing abilities due to their extremely strong enamels. Rats are able to chew through most materials that are present in your garden, such as bricks, asbestos, cement, cinder blocks, aluminum, plastics, wood, and even lead. Finding evidence such as damaged wood or torn food packaging can be a very strong sign of rats in your garden.
It is very easy to distinguish rats using bite marks because of the rodent‘s impressive ability to eat through almost anything, and also the fact that rats have very distinct bite marks that are easy to recognize.
Footprints in the Dirt
One surefire way of detecting rat activity in your garden is through their footprints. Rats tend to live in dirty and contaminated areas, and move around a lot. So, it‘s inevitable that they will leave behind an easy to track trail of footprints wherever they go.
Another similar means of detecting rats in your garden is by looking for rat pathways. Rats make such pathways to shorten the distance between their nest and the food source.
Increased Pet Activity
Pets like dogs and cats are more sensitive to sounds than we are. So, they are more likely to detect rat activity in your garden, and try and get a hold of the rodent. If you find your pet stuffing their nose in cervices more frequently and longer than usual, then you can suspect rats in your garden.
How to Get Rid of Rats in Gardens
Now that we know how to detect rats and why to get rid of them, let’s get onto how you can get a garden without rats.
Remove Food Sources
As we discussed away, rats build their nests in places that have easy access to food. If you have pet food, like bird feeders in your garden, then that may be what’s attracting rats to your territory. Rats feed on the grains that fall from such feeders. So, either get rid of these feeders, or replace them with secure squirrel-proof ones that can still feed birds.
Keep an Eye on Crops
Your crops may be what‘s attracting rats to your garden. The rodent will eat about any fruit and vegetable out there. So, keep an eye out for your crops and make sure you don‘t accidentally eat anything that a rat might have bitten into. Also, remove fallen fruits from your garden to reduce the rats‘ food sources and drive them away.
Remove Water Sources
Just like food, rats also need water to survive. However, this doesn’t mean you should get rid of your scenic garden ponds or bird baths. Just make sure you remove excess water sources like dripping pipes, and that you secure drains and add baffles to the drainpipes.
Protect Your Compost Bins
To deter rats from your compost heaps and bins, you need to stop adding food scraps to it, and start keeping it moist by adding lots of green and brown materials. You can also moisten the heap by regularly watering it. You can also keep rats away from your compost bin by installing chicken wire around its base. You can also utilize electrical wires to help kill the rats that come in contact with it.
Plant Plants that Serve as Repellants
Certain flowers like daffodils, lavenders, marigolds, and herbs like sage, black pepper, cayenne and oregano help effectively keep rats away from your garden.
Peppermint oil is a non-lethal repellent that keeps rats away from the property. Just add a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and spread it on areas you want rats to stay away from. Do this on a weekly basis.
Rat traps are a great tool to help you get rid of the rats in your garden and garden shed or greenhouse.
First you need too equip yourself with protective gear like gloves and masks to avoid contact with rat excretions. Then you have to find all the nests and burrows in your garden and shed. If you‘re trying to kill the rats in your garden shed then you need to find their entry points in the shed, such as holes in the shed door. Remember that holes as small as coins can also serve as entry points. Cover these holes with rodent resistant expanding foam they will not be able to gnaw off. Finally, set up the traps inside, and around, your shed.
There are many different types of traps you can buy, for example snap traps with springs, that instantly kill the rat that enters. However, know that all rat traps work with food bait. Peanut butter is said to be one of the best food baits for rats. Once you have a dead rat, make sure you dispose it safely, because even inhaling the air around it can be very dangerous.
Here’s a great video on how to use rat traps.
Another way of getting rid of the rats in your garden is rat poison. The poison comes in different forms like bars, blocks, granules, pellets and chunks. All these poisons have different effectiveness and efficiency when it comes to killing rats. Just make sure you place the poison strategically and in a place where your pets and children don‘t come in contact with it.
Pest Control Services
If you feel like the situation is out of your control, or just simply don’t want to get your hands dirty, then you can always hire professional pest control services. The rat control services can eradicate the rat population from your garden and guide you on how to prevent more infestations according to your garden’s needs.
Now that your garden is completely rat free, how about a new garden set to enjoy the great weather outside?