How To Get Rid Of Rats In Your Garden For Good

Have you seen Ratatouille, the movie? It won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film in 2008. Little Remy, the little rat chef, stole our hearts! But how would you feel if he and his friends would become permanent residents in your home or garden? Well, probably many of us would react like the old lady in the movie – try whatever means available to get rid of the rodents or call pest control

a rat walking around in a garden

And for a good reason, nonetheless! Rats are well-known for spreading diseases. Did you know that rats and mice can spread more than 35 diseases? Data also shows that rodents destroy about 20% of all agricultural products worldwide each and every year. So, it makes sense to try to discard rats when they invade your garden.

Why should you get rid of vermin infestation?

Rats and mice are considered a pest that can easily adapt to any type of environment. They feed on cereals, vegetables (including sweet corn), and pretty much any type of leftovers, so they get quite comfortable in houses, garden sheds, garages, gardens, and yards

Aside from being the source of unpleasant smells (their faeces!), a rat contamination can also cause significant damage. And, as we have mentioned before, they also pose a health risk both to humans and their pets. Weil’s disease, also known as leptospirosis is just one of the many diseases they can pass on to your pets.

Rats can contaminate human and pet food and spread diseases through their hair, urine, or faeces, causing severe alimentary infections. At the same time, they can cause the deterioration of food, generate certain odours, cause lice and tick contaminations, and damage materials such as wood or textile, among others. Last but not least, rats can dig in the ground and this gnawing through wires and cables can ruin electrical installations

But before going through the different types of methods you can use to get rid of rats from your garden, first, let’s have a look at how you can tell if you are dealing with contamination.

A hole made from a rat in a garden

Where do rats live in the garden?

We can find rats in many areas of the garden. Behind the shed doors or in other storage facilities and behind garden furniture. They seem to like drainpipes, close to where you keep the trash bins, woodpiles, compost bins or compost piles, where you keep the pets or farm animals.

As you can see, rodent control is crucial as rats can live pretty much anywhere in the garden, no matter the size. This is the reason they can cause so much damage to the area – not only do they feed on the resources available, but they also can be gnawing on most materials they find in their way.

Tell-tale signs you have rats in your garden

It might be difficult to actually see rats in your garden, as they are active mostly at night, and they tend to reproduce in late summer to early fall. But if you do see rats during daylight, then the chances are you are dealing with a rather large infestation. It may be possible that there is a good source of food for them in your garden that they just can’t stay away from.

Here are some of the signs that will let you know if you have a rats’ contamination in your garden:

  • You find faeces around outbuildings where no pets are allowed
  • You find leftovers from their meals (such as empty nuts, seeds of snail shells, among others)
  • The food you leave out for the pets or farm animals is gone too soon
  • You find traces on fruit or vegetables, wood, cables or electrical wires
  • You notice holes in the ground around the house or storage places

What makes rats come to my garden?

As we have mentioned already, rats are not particularly picky when it comes to food and their living arrangements and they can easily find entry points to your garden. This means that there can be quite a large number of things attracting them to your garden. If your garden is providing them with water sources, food and shelter, the chances are they will never leave (on their own at least). 

A rat eating from a bird feeder in a garden

Good soil

Generally speaking, it’s important to know that rats prefer fresh and fertile soil for their nests. However, they will build their nests pretty much anywhere, if there is food available.

Food sources

It takes more than just some bread crumbs you left on the garden table to invite rats to your garden. But if you have bird feeders, these are a source of food that never runs dry, so the rats will take advantage of it. Also, if you leave food unattended in the animal shelter or around the house (for the pets), they will want to live within close proximity to these areas with an ongoing supply of food.

Hiding places

Safety is also one of the things that attract rats to your garden. And having a good hiding place such as a pile of wood, garden furniture and lush vegetation close to the feeding area, is exactly what attracts them to your garden. 

How to get rid of rats in your garden?

While a rat contamination is not to be taken lightly, there are several methods available that you can use to get rid of the problem.

1. Bait stations

Bait stations attract rodents that go inside, chew on the bait and leave the station to die in their nests later on. 

A bait station for trapping rats in a garden

2. Snap traps

These are probably the most well-known type of rat traps. The rat gets stuck inside once it touches the bait that is placed on top of it. You can release the rat after you catch it, just make sure you take it far away from your garden and you wear gloves if you need to touch it. 

3. Glue traps

As the name suggests, these traps have bait placed pretty close to an area with highly adhesive glue. When trying to reach the bait, the rat gets stuck in the glue. 

4. Electric traps

They are very similar to mechanical traps, and the only difference is that the rat gets electrocuted after touching the trap. The electric trap is a clean, fast and safe solution. Make sure to remove it as soon as possible, otherwise, the rest of the rats will start avoiding the area. 

5. Ultrasound devices

These devices emit ultrasounds that the human ear can’t perceive, but they are very annoying for rodents and are great for getting rid of moles too. In this case, the rats get scared because of the noise and run away from that area. An ultrasound device can be powered by batteries, solar power or you can just keep them plugged in

6. Bait trays

There are different kinds of mouse traps containing rat poison, but the bait trays are probably the most popular. You just place the bait on a tray and leave it around the areas populated with rats. Make sure to keep an eye on the pets, so they don’t eat the poisoned bait. 

7. Natural rat repellents

You can also get rid of rats using peppermint oil, as well as castor or citronella oil if you prefer a more natural approach. Pepper flakes and onions could also be efficient in your fight against rodents, driving them away from your yard. Just spray some of the natural rat repellents close to the rats’ nest or their feeding areas and you might notice that soon enough they’ll start avoiding your garden.

A bottle of peppermint oil next to some leaves

8. Call the pest controller

If you’re not the DIY type of person, then chances are you’re better off getting the pest control specialists. They will take care of the issue in an efficient and clean manner. You won’t have to worry about finding dead rats all around the garden or in areas difficult to reach and remove.

How to keep rats away from your yard?

You can keep rats away from your garden by ensuring they won’t find there what they need to survive and thrive. And these things are food, water, and safety, as we’ve discussed before. In just a few words, you should always keep the garden and the area around the house clean and never leave food leftovers outside. Here are more things you need to do if you want to avoid an infestation in your garden:

    • Keep everything in order around your garden so they can’t find a place to build their nest
    • Don’t leave food outside
    • Make sure to take the garbage out as often as possible
    • Store pet food, cereals, fruit, and vegetables in containers with lids
    • Keep it clean around the barbecue and the garden dining area
    • Throw away garden clippings
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