Due to the presence of hiding places and a constant supply of food, it’s common to find rats in your garden.
The most common species you will find in the garden is the Norway or brown rat. Rats cause a range of damage.
For you to keep your garden in top shape, it’s paramount that you learn how to get rid of rats in the garden.
What is the impact of rats in the garden?
As mentioned, rats cause substantial damage to your garden. The obvious one is that they feed on garden vegetables including pumpkins, corn cobs, and squash.
They often damage them which leads to less harvest.
In some cases, they feed on fruits while they are in storage.
If you have packaging materials and containers in the garden, the rats will feed on them, which leads to damage.
If you have a large garden, you most likely have a structure such as a gazebo.
Rats tend to cause structural damage to these structures by gnawing and burrowing them which undermines their structural integrity.
The rodents will also feed on irrigation pipes and electrical wires.
Rats are opportunistic animals. Once they are in your garden, they will seek new places to live, feed, and breed.
If you don’t remove them early enough, they are bound to multiply extremely fast, which might lead to total colonization of your garden.
The rodents carry a wide range of diseases brought about by viruses, bacteria, worms, and protozoa.
When you come into contact with the rodents or dust particles, you are bound to contract the diseases.
How to get rid of rats in your garden
If you already have the rodents in your lovely garden, there are plenty of ways in which you can get rid of the rats there. Some of these ways include:
There are plenty of rat traps in the market that you can use to get rid of the rats in the garden. These traps include:
Snap/spring traps: Snap traps are designed to kill rodents instantly with a spring release mechanism that is triggered when the rodent steps on the trap or takes some food bait.
When you are using the trap outdoors, you should be cautious of how you place it.
You should position it in such a way that it doesn’t affect the pets, children, or other animals in the garden.
Electrocution traps: These too are designed to kill the rodent as soon as it steps on them.
Electrocution traps discharge a high voltage shock when an animal walks on the metal plates inside the containment box.
While they are highly effective, they are often expensive to purchase; therefore, you should be ready to part with a substantial amount of money.
Just like with the snap traps, you need to regularly check for and dispose dead animals you find.
Live capture traps: If you don’t like dealing with dead rats, you should opt to capture them alive using live capture traps.
These units feature a small cage with a trigger mechanism that shuts the animal in when the rat pulls on some bait.
Once you capture the rat, you can decide to free it or move it away from your yard and release it there.
While the traps won’t kill the rats you should regularly inspect them for any non-target animals that might be caught.
These emit sounds that are beyond the range of human hearing, but it’s audible to the rats. Due to this, the sounds are able to repel the rats without causing any harm to humans.
While the ultrasound repellents are effective at repelling the rats at the early stages, studies show that some of the rats get used to the sounds after some time, rendering the repellants ineffective.
Professional rodent control
The final way in which you can get rid of rats from your garden is to hire a rat exterminator.
The cool thing with hiring the exterminator is that you don’t have to worry about buying traps or chemicals—the exterminator comes with their own.
For you to get ideal results from the professional, hire one who is highly experienced. The professional should also give you a guarantee that they will get rid of the rodents.
Safety tips when getting rid of rats
If you opt to get rid of the rats by yourself, you should be cautious of your safety as the rats can infect you with diseases. Some of the things you should do to protect yourself include:
When setting up traps, set them in such a way that you don’t affect non-target animals, children, and other family members.
You should never handle the rats or the poisons with bare hands. This is to avoid contaminating yourself.
If you opt to kill the rats, ensure that you dispose the dead animals safely. One of the most effective ways of doing it is burying them deep in the ground.
This is to prevent them from getting dug up by pets and wild animals.
Another effective way is placing them in a sealed plastic bag then in waste disposal.
Different states have different regulations on how you should dispose the rodents. For you to avoid being on the wrong side of the law, always check the regulations.
How to keep rats away from your garden for good
Prevention is always better than cure; therefore, for you to have an easy time keeping your garden in top shape, you should prevent the rats from getting into your garden in the first place.
There are plenty of ways in which you can do it. Some of these ways include:
#1: Use Peppermint oil
Rats hate the smell of peppermint oil; therefore, it’s such a great way of driving the rats away.
For you to keep off the rats you should moisten cotton balls with 100% pure peppermint oil then place it in the various parts of the garden.
You also should place it in the garage and shed. If you have a gazebo, place the oil there too.
You should remember that you need to keep on reapplying the oil for you to keep the smell going. This calls for you to reapply the oil a few times a week.
#2: Use Catnip
The plant has been shown to work like a charm at keeping the rats away.
All you need to do is to visit your local garden center and buy the plant. You should then plant it at strategic areas of your garden.
#3: Undertake soil netting
If your garden is new, you can protect it from the rats by laying a piece of netting under the soil.
The purpose of doing this is to prevent the rats from burrowing and eating the roots and bulbs.
While the netting is highly effective, you should note that the determined rats tend to chew through it; therefore, in addition to adding the net, also undertake regular inspections of the garden.
#4: Get a pet
Did you know that pets are highly effective at getting rid of the annoying rodents? If you don’t have a cat or dog in your home, now it’s a good time to think about getting one.
Rats don’t like cats; therefore, you should highly consider getting one.
The pets aren’t a pest control measure. They are a preventative measure and if you have the right cat, you will definitely keep off the rats.
#5: Keep food off the lawn
As mentioned here, one of the things that attracts rats to the garden is the presence of food.
This means that for you to keep off the rodents, you should avoid having food on the lawn.
This calls for you to avoid having bird feeders and other food containing containers in your yard.
If you are fond of taking your lunches on the lawn, you should always get rid of any food that might drop when eating.
#6: Get rid of water sources
Rats can’t survive without water hence if you don’t have any water sources in your garden, there is no reason for the rats to be there.
For you keep your garden water free you need to get rid of sprinklers and birdbaths that might be there.
#7: Clean your garden
Rats like dirty areas so that they can hide in the dirt. This means that the less clutter you have in your yard, the less inhospitable the garden is.
In addition to mowing the lawn using a reel mower or any other machine, you also should get rid of tires, pots, and other items that might be lying around.
#8: Block the access to the garden shed
Do you have a gazebo or any other type of garden shed? You should block all holes in the wall and door.
You also should ensure that there are no hollow areas under the shed that can used by rats as hiding spots.
Obviously, if there are no places for the rats to hide, they will go away.
#9: Keep the rubbish bin shut
The smells coming from the rubbish bin can attract the rats to your garden. The bin also serves as a hospitable area for the rodents to hide.
To keep them off, you should keep the bin shut all the time. if your bin doesn’t have a cover, you should get one.
Most of the bins don’t close as well as they should. If this is the case with yours, you should get the lid to lock.
The cool thing is that there are plenty of locks in the market that you can go with.