Understanding The Rat Menace In Your Garden
Having roof rats, brown rats, or Norway rats on your garden is not only a horrible experience, it also leads to contamination and damage to vegetables, flowers, and plants.
During the winter months, the rodents tend to get into the house seeking warm shelter and food. Just like other rodents, rats carry a wide range of diseases that can be infectious to you and your family. The rodents can also cause damage to the wooden structures and cables.
Signs you have rats in your garden
There are plenty of tell-tale signs that you can look out for to tell that you are having rodents in your yard. These signs include:
Seeing the rats: This is an obvious one. It’s common to see rats on trees, wires, and fences around your garden. You can also find them running along the pathways in the vegetation.
Droppings: You don’t have to always see the rodents to know that they are present in your garden. If you see fecal pellets around runways, nesting sites, or feeding areas, you most definitely have the rodents in your garden.
Noise: If there are a lot of rats, you can hear their scraping, squealing, or gnawing sounds especially at night.
Smudges: If you find black, greasy marks on exposed walls or runways, you most likely have rats on your garden. These smudges result when the rat rubs its dirty hair against the surface.
Damaged pieces: Rodents like to gnaw and chew on objects; therefore, when you notice damaged pieces of vegetation with rat-like teeth marks, you most likely have the uninvited rodents on your yard. When you are inspecting the damaged vegetation, also be on the lookout for chewed cloth, plastic, paper, or wood.
Runways: One characteristic of rodents is their tendency to use the same pathways between their nests and food sources. Rat runways are often smooth and free of vegetation. If you notice any of these, you have a rat problem that you should address as soon as possible.
Footprints: Are there footprints in dust or mud? You should take a look at them and if they are rat’s, you have a problem that you should address immediately.
What attracts rats to your garden?
The rats can be attracted by a wide range of materials to the garden. Some of these materials include:
Garbage: Garbage is an excellent source of food for the rodents. If you throw the garbage in your garden, you are the reason why the rodents are in your garden.
Fruits: Do you have fruit-bearing trees in your yard? You should know that rats tend to feed on them. Some of the most loved ones are: peaches, oranges, avocados, figs, and lemon. The rats feed on the fallen fruits, but they can also feed on the ripe ones that are still on the tree.
Pet food: Some homeowners tend to place the pet food in the garden. You should know that rats feed on the food. They also feed on dog droppings; therefore, when your dog excretes in the garden, the rats might infest your garden.
Unkempt lawns: Rats love cluttered environments and lawns with tall grass or weeds. When your lawn has tall grass or materials lying around, you provide the night roamers with a comfortable living space.
How to get rid of rats from your garden
For you to get rid of the rats, you need to get rid of the materials that attract them. Some of the things you can do to get rid of them include:
Clean your garden
This is the first step that ensures that you not only get rid of the rodents, but you also have a beautiful yard. Rats hate open spaces; therefore, you should cut the long grass on your yard. You also should get rid of the wood piles lying around.
If you have fruit bearing trees, you should remove the fruits as soon as they fall. If it’s possible to ripen the fruits in the store, you should collect them from the tree.
Trap the rodents
If you have removed all the attracting factors and still the rats aren’t going away, you should consider trapping them. Some people try to poison them but this isn’t a good way of eliminating them. This is because the dead rats can be eaten by your dog or cat thus ending up poisoning your pets.
Your children or other animals can find the poison and eat it, which would be catastrophic. For you to avoid the risks that come with using poison to get rid of the rats, you should trap them instead.
There are plenty of outdoor rat traps that you can go for. It’s up to you to choose the ones that are ideal for your application. You should note that you don’t have to use expensive, high end traps to get rid of the nigh roamers. A simple, but good quality traditional trap is enough.
If you don’t want to kill the rat, you should use live traps that have sensors and enclose the rat once it gets in. The cool thing with these traps is that they capture the rodent unharmed which allows you to decide whether to free the rat or move it to another area, far from the garden. You can also use glue traps when looking to catch the rat alive.
If you don’t want to deal with a live rat, you should use snap or electrical rate traps. These will kill the rat as soon as it gets into contact with the trap. you don’t have to worry about what you will do with the rat once it has been trapped—you only need to dispose it.
You should note that snap and glue traps are more effective when you place them in rodent runways between their feeding areas and harborage. As a rule of thumb, you should avoid using glue traps in dusty or wet environments.
Poisoning the rats
If you don’t have animals or kids that can come into contact with the rats, you can go ahead and use poison to control the rodents. When using the poison, carefully follow the label instructions.
When placing the bait stations, place them securely so that they can be carried away or moved. You should never place them in the open. The best way of going about it is hiding them behind shrubbery or other objects where you have seen rodent activity.
Rat proof your garden
For you to prevent the rat invasion from happening in the future, you need to rat-proof your garden. Keep your garden clean and tidy all the time. If you have neighbors with unkempt yards, let them know about the problem and work together at keeping your yards rat-free.
Once you spot a rat in the garden, you should move fast at getting rid of it before it bleeds.
You should note that rats are nocturnal creatures; therefore, when you see them during the day, you might be having a larger problem than you can handle. In such a case, you should hire a pest exterminator to help you deal with the menace. As rule of thumb ensure that the exterminator is highly experienced and licensed to work in your area.