Our gardens and lawns are some of the things around the house we value most. That is because they add a touch of nature to your home and are also a great place to spend your time. However, there are a lot of problems you have to deal with, rats being one of them.
Rats destroy everything they find on their way and could also make your garden look untidy. If you have any plants in your garden, they will eat and kill them. Rats spread very fast because they have a short gestation period of only three weeks and could give birth to around 14 babies each time.
Therefore, you should always be on the lookout and devise a plan to eliminate them before they spread out of control. Some of the signs that there are rats in your garden include:
While you might think about using pest control, that may harm your plants and the soil. Therefore, you have to come up with other methods like:
Effective Ways To Keep Rats Out Of Your Garden
Get A Cat
When the cat is away, the mice will play. Therefore, the best way to keep rats from your home is to get a cat because they love hunting rats and mice. It is also a natural method that will not harm your plants and will also be fun for you to have a companion.
Skip The Mulch
When we think of weed control, preserving moisture in the soil, and adding nutrients to the soil, mulching is normally our number 1 solution. However, by adding mulch, you are creating a comfortable place for the rats to make their nests, especially if you use grass or hay.
If you must add mulch to your garden, add the wood-chip type because it is hard for the rats to burrow through it and make a nest.
Use Natural Repellants
Just like humans and other animals, there are some smells that rats cannot stand. If you are seeking to only repel but not kill them, consider planting some repellant plants around your home. Plant them around the areas you notice a lot of rat activity.
Not only will the plants repel the rats, but they also help add beauty to your garden. One of the most common and effective plants is peppermint. If you do not additional plants in your garden, you can scatter dried mint around the areas you do not want the rats to cross.
Alternatively, soak cotton balls or cloth pieces in mint oil and lay them around where the rats hide or along their path.
Eucalyptus is another great rat repellant, and you can also use eucalyptus oil if you don’t want to plant it in your garden.
Some other plants you can grow in your garden include citronella, catnip, garlic, basil, thyme, and Echinacea.
Use Ultrasonic Repellants
These are electronic gadgets designed to emit high-frequency sounds to repel, kill, or injure rodents and other pests in your home. They are effective because only the rats can hear the sound they produce, which means that they do not affect you or your family members or pets.
Those sounds scare the rats, making them run away from your property. You do not have to worry about additional electricity bills because they have low energy consumption. You can also opt for ones that are solar powered to avoid the electricity bills completely.
The solar-powered ones are also effective because they will keep running even when there is a power outage. However, since one device only covers only about 6,000 square feet, you might need several depending on the size of your garden.
Use Instant Potatoes
These are a cheap and effective way to kill rats on your property. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the powder on the rat trails or around the entry of their burrows. When the rats eat the flakes, they expand in their stomachs.
Since rat stomachs are very small, they will not handle the pressure of the expanding flakes, and they will die after a short time.
If you use this method, look out for your pets and ensure they do not eat the flakes because that could harm or even kill them too.
We can all agree that the smell of raw onion is not the best, and rats have a similar opinion. You do not have to grow the onions in your garden for them to emit the pungent smell to repel the rats.
You only have to chop a few pieces of onion and place them along the suspected rat path or around their nests.
Store Pet Food Properly
Apart from mulch, another thing that attracts rats into your home is chicken feed and pet food. Store those edibles in a place the rats cannot reach, and consider using airtight containers to store them.
That not only helps keep the food fresh for long, but it also helps conceal all the smells that might attract the rats. You should also limit the amount of pet food and the chicken feed you pour out each time and ensure your pets can finish them in 1 sitting.
Build A Strong Fence
A fence not only helps keep buglers and big animals off your property but also helps keep the rats from crawling in. If you do not have a fence around your home, you should build one. If you have one but notice that the rats are crawling under it, reinforce it.
Ensure that all the wood pieces of your fence are level to the ground or a few inches deeper. Sometimes, rats can burrow their way under the fence and into the garden. To prevent that, use a ¼ inch grid hardware cloth.
Create a trench along the fence around 6 inches deep and 6 inches from the fence. Attach the cloth at the base of your fence using either stapes or nails, then place it into the trench and cover it with soil. That helps create an underground barrier.
Remove Water And Food Sources From The Garden
Sometimes rats come into your compound looking for food and water. When they find it, they will keep coming back and may even build a home around their newfound food and water source.
To prevent that, remove any birdbaths from your garden, ensure your taps are always closed, and do not leave pet bowls with food out at night or any other time. Ensure that your garbage bins are always tightly covered, and do not leave your garbage bags out for long periods.
If you like composting, keep your compost pile secure and bury all organic matter deep into the bin.
Tidy Your Garden
Having dirt and a lot of cluttered items in your garden gives the rats a perfect place to hide. Always remove any waste on your garden or other objects you are not using, and avoid putting things up against the wall.
That way, you can see what is behind and everything in your garden. You should also pick up fallen vegetables and fruits from your garden and trim or cut back any overgrown areas.
Old is gold, and this is among the oldest methods of catching and killing rats in your home. You can use live traps or snap traps. Live traps are perfect if you want to eliminate the rats without killing them.
Those types of traps have "doors" that allow the rat in but snap closed once the rat is inside. You can then take the rat out and throw them in a faraway place or nearby bush or forest. This method is, however, not effective if you have a large rat infestation.
Snap traps, on the other hand, are perfect if you want to kill the rats and if you have a large infestation. The most effective and commonly used are the traditional ones that come with a metal bar that swings down and breaks the rat neck once it steps on it.
For that to be effective, you have to place bait at the middle of the trap to lure the rat into setting it off.
Evict The Rats From Their Burrows Using Water
If you are thinking about evicting the rats from their burrows without making a mess in your garden, water is the best alternative. Using a hose with a lot of pressure, direct water into the burrows until they are flooded.
After the first round, the rats might come back after the water sips into the ground around. Therefore, you have to keep flooding the burrows until the rats no longer come.
You can also look for their nests and burn them down. If there are any babies, you can take them to the nearest forest a kilometer or more away from your home to keep them from coming back.
We use baking soda in a lot of home DIYs, and this is no exception. To use baking soda, you have to be sure that you want to kill the rats and not only repel them. One of the challenges is that rats have to eat a lot of baking soda for it to work.
However, there are different ways you can make a perfect baking soda poison. You can mix flour, sugar, and baking soda and pour it along the rat path or around their nests and burrows. The sugar and smell of the flour act as bait to encourage the rat to eat the mixture.
Alternatively, you can use a mixture of peanut butter and baking soda and make that mixture into balls. Lay the balls along the path of the rats and their nests. Rats love peanut butter and cannot resist it.
Bleach is any solid or liquid substance you use to remove stains. It is not only helpful when you want to make your house clean, but it also helps repel rats because of its pungent smell.
It could also play as a poison because it decreases oxygen consumption and could cause internal bleeding. Some of the ways you can use bleach to repel rats include:
Seal Any Gaps
You might notice some gaps in your wall or fence that rats may get into your garden through. Cover those gaps with blocks, wood, or repair your whole fence or walls.
These are some of the non-toxic ways to keep rats away from your garden. You can use either liquid or granular repellants.
Granular repellants are crystalline products you can sprinkle around your garden and create a barrier around which you do not want the rats to cross.
They act by pricking the rats and making it uncomfortable for them to walk on. Unlike liquid repellants, you can see granular repellants, and when they start disappearing, you know it’s time to replace them.
With liquid repellants, you can target the places and things you want to keep the rats from. You can buy repellants that do not affect your plants and spray them with them to avoid rats eating and destroying them.
You can also spray other things like hoses and dust bins that rats love chewing on.
This is also another classic way to kill the rats on your property, especially if they are many. You can get rat poison anywhere and apply it on some food products as bait to attract the rats.
When using poison, you have to be careful if you have pets and children to avoid them getting into contact with r eating the poison.
To increase the effectiveness of the poison, place it on the path the rats use a lot or near their burrows and nests.
Call The Experts
If you have a large rat infestation that has become hard for you to eliminate alone, call the pest control experts. Show them all the areas where you have seen the rats and their nests or burrows.
Not only will they have the perfect way to help eliminate the rats already in your garden, but they will also give you tips on how to prevent future infestations.
If you notice rats in your garden, the next place they will go is inside your house. Therefore, you have to take the measures and block off any holes and gaps the rats might use to enter the house.
If you have a pet entrance in your door, consider closing it off for some time until you are sure that the rats are no longer around your home.
You should also always check any furniture you buy, especially if you buy it second-hand. There could be small rats under or between the cushions.