Eliminate Rats In Gardens – Control Tips And Deterrents For Rats In Gardens
By: Jackie Carroll
Rats are clever animals. They are constantly exploring and learning about their environment, and they adapt quickly to change. Because they are experts at hiding, you may not see rats in the garden, so it’s important to learn how to recognize signs of their presence.
Do Rats Rummage in Gardens?
Do rats rummage in gardens? Yes. Rats feed on plants and chew on ornaments and structures in the garden. Dense ground covers and hedges with branches near the ground provide hiding places, while other vegetation, garden vegetables and berries provide them with important sources of food.
Where do rats live in the garden? Rats live in thick vegetation that covers the ground, such as English ivy and blackberry patches, as well as underground tunnels. You may find them in stacks of firewood and material such as newspapers and cardboard that are stacked for recycling. Construction materials, compost piles and thick mulch also provide safe havens for rats in the garden.
Removing some of the most appealing hiding places will discourage some rats, but it may take poisons to completely eliminate rats in gardens.
Deterrents for Rats in the Garden
Their ability to learn quickly and adapt to change makes finding deterrents for rats challenging. Ultrasonic devices and deterrents that depend of flashing lights work for a short period of time, but the rats soon learn that they are harmless.
Good sanitation and removing hiding places are two deterrents that help reduce the rat population, although they may not completely eliminate rats in the garden.
Eliminate Rats in Gardens
Smoke and gas cartridges are sometimes used against burrowing rats, but since rat burrows may be extensive and have several openings, you may end up with toxic gasses in places where you didn’t expect them. Close as many openings as you can find before trying this method. You may find that you’ll do as well by flooding the burrow with water.
Rats avoid new things, so it may be a while before you catch rats in traps. If you use trapping as a part of your control program, decide what to do with the rats you trap in advance. Humane killing is a good solution, but many people find it difficult. Releasing them in another area solves your problem but may create problems for wildlife. Rats have been known to decimate bird populations in some areas.
Toxic and poisonous baits are the most effective way to control rats, but they are also the most dangerous and most likely to harm children, pets and wildlife. Federal law restricts the sale of these types of baits to gel, paste or wax blocks that come in ready-to-use stations; however, the active ingredients are as harmful to other mammals as they are to rats. Pest control professionals are experts in handling and placing these types of baits.
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What to do if your neighbour has rats in their garden
There are many people who think that only dirty and filthy buildings attract rats, but that’s simply not the case. There are several situations in which rats are found in clean and neat homes and gardens. The reason for this is simple – rats need shelter, warmth and food. If these criteria are met, they can live anywhere.
Rats and mice must be controlled because they are disease carriers and they can cause significant damage to any type of building. Proper cleanliness and housekeeping is the best way to save your property from rat infestation. Another good tip is to secure any place in your home or garden that can be used as a nesting location to stop them from coming. This could mean sealing off any gaps or holes that you have in your brickwork.
In addition, don’t forget that if you place food in your garden for squirrels and birds. that you may be attracting rats too so be mindful of this when you are creating food stations. All these tips are useful for homeowners with their own property, but what happens if you see rats in your neighbour’s garden?
If you only notice one rat in the garden of your neighbour then there’s no need to panic. Rats often pass through gardens when they are on the hunt for food. To reiterate, if you or your neighbour are leaving food for birds and squirrels it is very likely that some rats will come to see what’s going on as well!
However, if you see rats in your neighbour’s garden more than once and in numbers more than one you should definitely talk to them. They might have already taken certain measures which you are not aware about or they may not know that this problem actually exists. If they don’t know how and why they should deal with rats, then there are plenty of websites and articles that you can point them to so that they can understand what a potentially damaging problem this really is.
If they still don’t act and they are not interested in bringing in pest control experts the final step is to contact the local authorities and make them aware of the situation.
For more advice about rat problems, please contact us now.
We are going to take a look at 5 places that are common for a rat to set up a burrow. Where do rats burrow? Let’s take a look…
In Overgrown Areas
Rats like to operate in covered areas. They do not want to be seen as they enter and exit their burrow.
For this reason, the entrance to the burrow, and all of the exits are most likely to be created in areas covered by bushes, trees, or other objects.
Whilst rats will burrow under concrete, it is unlikely that the entrance to the burrow is in the concrete.
A rat’s burrow is only usually 1 or 2 feet deep, but they will do down further if they need to.
In terms of borrowing under concrete, this will offer rats additional protection.
Rocks are similar to concrete – they offer protection for each entrance and exit point from the burrow.
When looking for the entrance to a rat burrow, you should be looking around large rocks or a large collection of rocks.
Under Your Home
A rat burrow could potentially be apparent under your home, which has the potential to cause structural damage to your home and also offers a rat an opportunity to get inside your home.
A rat might use this as an entry point to your home! Once they are in, they are a health hazard.
In Your Garden
Rats need food. It is one of the things that attract a rat to your home.
Your garden will give a rat the opportunity to eat the plants, vegetables, and fruit that is growing in your garden.
Rats sometimes dig underneath root vegetables for easy access to food. If you have seen a rat in your garden, it is worth checking on anything that you are growing.
Are Rats in the Garden Dangerous?
Image source: Pixabay License type: Public Domain
The most important question here is whether rats are dangerous in general. The answer is - yes, they certainly are dangerous and may cause serious health-related problems. In addition, the sneaky rodents are very harmful to buildings and construction material such as bricks, wood, concrete and some metals.
Rats are known for being able to transmit various diseases, some of which may even be deadly if not treated properly and on time. This is why in the past many people have died after an encounter with a rat. In return, evolution has made us so cautious and afraid from rats. What may be a reason for concern if you have rats in the garden is any of the following potential threats:
- Get a rat bite
- Steal food from bird feeders
- Transmit various diseases - bubonic plague hantavirus, rabbit fever
- Harm your pets
- Cost you a fee from the council (See who is responsible for pest control in UK.)
- Eat your veggies
- Cause severe structural damage
Rats are clever animals and can adapt to virtually any situation they might encounter within or near your property. Hints that rats are nesting in or on your property include a rat burrow or hole.
An entrance to a rat’s nest is typically clear of debris. Stuffing paper to block the entrance is a good way to find if you have an active nest. If present, rats will clear the opening to a burrow or nest in a couple of days.
Keep an eye out for new holes and any other damage that might be created by rodents in areas where nests are generally found. That is a good way to flag the potential presence of an infestation.
How to keep rats from your garden for good
There are plenty of ways 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.
To keep off the rodents, 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.
Remember you have to keep on reapplying the oil 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 rats away.
All you need to do is to visit your local garden center and buy the plant. You should then plant it in strategic areas of your garden.
#3: Undertake soil netting
If your garden is new, you can protect it from rats by laying a piece of netting under the soil.
The purpose of doing this is to prevent the rodents from burrowing and eating plant roots and bulbs.
While the netting is highly effective, determined rats tend to chew through it therefore, in addition to adding the net, also undertake regular garden inspections.
#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 an excellent time to get one.
#5: Keep food off the lawn
As mentioned here , one of the things that attract rats to the garden is the presence of food.
This means for you to keep off the rodents, you should avoid having food on your lawn. Avoid having bird feeders and other food containing containers in your yard.
If you are fond of taking your lunches on the lawn, get rid of all spills before leaving the area.
#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.
To keep your garden water-free, get rid of sprinklers and birdbaths.
#7: Clean your garden
Rats like dirty areas so they can hide in the dirt. This means that the less clutter you have in your yard, the less inhospitable your garden will be.
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 lying around.
#8: Block access to the garden shed
Do you have a gazebo or any other type of garden shed? Block all holes in the wall and door. Also, ensure there are no hollow areas under the shed that rats can use as hiding spots.
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 rats to your garden. Since the bins are dirty and dark, they serve as hospitable areas for the rodents to hide.
To keep the rodents off, keep the bin shut all the time. If your bin doesn’t have a cover, get one.
Most of the bins don’t close as well as they should. If this is the case with yours, get the lid to lock. You can do the work or hire a professional to help you out.
How to Discourage Rodents in the Garden
Despite their natural role in the ecosystem, you may wish to discourage rodents and other animals from burrowing in your garden if your plants' roots are continuously disturbed, the stems are chewed on, or your fruits and vegetables are eaten before you get a chance to harvest them. If you can't wait for natural predators to act as population control (and you don't want to adopt a feral cat to prowl the area), there are a few options you can try.
First, if you suspect the burrow is actually a den created by foxes, skunks or other "large" mammals, you can convince them that the area isn't safe for raising their young thanks to motion-activated lights, sprinklers or noisemakers. Second, you can use products like Wonder Soil's Tunnel Fill and Tunnel Plug to drive out current residents and prevent them from coming back. Next, you can consider physical deterrents like a buried perimeter fence or raised garden beds to prevent groundhogs and other tunnel rodents from navigating into your garden. Finally, you can go the all-natural route as described by Epic Gardening and place rodent-repelling plants like garlic around the perimeter of your garden to convince newcomers that your garden is full of nothing but "yuck."
Setting out poisoned bait for rodents in the garden is strongly discouraged, as there's no guarantee that a family pet or even a child will not ingest poisoned food. Even if the intended targets are killed, they are often consumed by hawks or owls, whose bodies cannot handle the second-hand poison. They die as well, preventing them from acting as natural rodent-control in the future. Plus, the factors that attracted the rodents to your garden (shelter and food, for example) remain, which means other rodents will soon take their place in the newly vacant territory.
Cathy Habas has been a full-time freelance writer since 2014. She graduated from Indiana University Southeast with a Bachelor's degree in English. She enjoys writing content that helps homeowners feel motivated and confident in handling projects around the home. Her work has been published around the web, including on home improvement sites like Ron and Lisa.