How To Get Rid Of The Rats In The Garden

How to keep rats out of the garden

Rats can quickly become a major issue if they decide to make themselves at home in your garden, yard, or even inside your house. They are notorious for causing extensive damage in a short amount of time and can wreak havoc on everything from your home and vehicles to your garden.

But the problem doesn’t stop there – rats also pose a significant health risk as they can spread diseases to both humans and pets. So if you suspect a rat infestation, it’s crucial to act fast and take steps to remove them and keep them away. But why wait for the problem to occur? You can also take preventative measures to keep these pests out of your property altogether.

In this post, we’re going to explain how rats can damage your garden and what you can do to get rid of them without using any commercially available solution. Let’s get started! 

  1. How do I know if I have a rat problem in my garden?
  2. How do rats damage gardens?
  3. How to get rid of rats in the garden naturally
  4. Where Do Rats Nest in The Gardens
  5. Final Thoughts

How do I know if I have a rat problem in my garden?

When it comes to identifying a rat infestation in your garden, there are certain tell-tale signs to look out for. The good news is that with just a quick examination of your property, you’ll be able to determine whether or not you have an issue. In fact, all it should take is around 10-15 minutes to inspect your garden to identify any potential infestation.

Here is a list of the most common signs of a rat problem in the garden. So, take a look, if you notice a few of these, it’s likely that you have a rat problem that needs to be addressed: 

  • Gnawed or chewed plant leaves, stems, and fruits
  • Damage to the surface of fruits and vegetables
  • Rat droppings often found near food sources
  • Burrows, nests, or holes in the garden
  • Tracks and/or footprints
  • Urine stains, which can often be distinguished by their strong smell
  • Scratching or gnawing noises coming from garden beds or underdecks
  • Evidence of food storage, such as discarded shells or cores.

How do rats damage gardens?

Rats can be a real nuisance, leaving destruction in their wake wherever they go. Their constant gnawing can cause a wide range of damage, particularly in gardens. Here are just a few examples of how these pesky creatures can wreak havoc in your outdoor space:

Veggie thief

Rats will eat just about anything they can find, and your vegetable garden or fruit-bearing shrubs are no exception. If you’ve put a lot of time and effort into growing a bountiful harvest, a rat infestation can be particularly devastating.

Nesting material

 They love to chew on soft materials like plastics and cardboard, so any containers or boxes you have lying around will likely be full of holes and teeth marks.

Structural damage

Rats need to gnaw to keep their front teeth from getting too long, and this means they’ll chew on just about anything, including wooden beams, window frames, doors, and even foundations. This can lead to significant structural damage to buildings and outbuildings, like sheds, over time.

Food theft

 Rats are opportunistic feeders and will help themselves to any bird food you leave out for your feathered friends. They will empty bird feeders and eat any seeds you put out on a bird table.

Wiring trouble

Rats also enjoy gnawing on electrical wiring. This could include outdoor lighting, lawnmower, power tool cables, and any other wiring you have in your garden. This can be a serious safety hazard.

How to get rid of rats in the garden naturally

While rats can damage your garden and spread diseases, here is what you can do to get rid of them:

  • Remove sources of food and water

If you think they are hanging around your garden, it might be because of all the yummy treats they’re finding there. Rats love to chow down on grain, and they’re often drawn to gardens by fallen food from bird feeders.

One way to keep them from crashing the party is to hold off on feeding the birds for a bit, at least until you can figure out what’s going on. Regular garden clearance can help you keep your garden clean, clutter-free, and not rat-friendly.

Also, rats need water to survive, just like any other living being. While it may not be a good idea to get rid of garden ponds or bird baths, there are other steps you can take to reduce the amount of water available to them. For example, if you have a dripping tap or a leaky pipe, fixing these issues can make your property less appealing to rats. 

  • Plant herbs and plants that rats dislike

There are certain herbs and plants that repel rats and discourage them to spend time around your garden. Here are some plants you can grow in your garden to get rid of rats: 

  1. Peppermint: Rats dislike the strong smell of peppermint and will avoid areas where it is grown.
  2. Garlic: Planting garlic around the perimeter of your garden can help to keep rats away.
  3. Cayenne pepper: Sprinkling cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes around your garden can deter rats from entering.
  4. Lemongrass: The strong citrus smell of lemongrass is unpleasant to rats and can help to keep them away.
  5. Chrysanthemums: Chrysanthemums contain pyrethrum, a natural insecticide that can also repel rats.
  6. Bay leaves: Rats don’t like the smell of bay leaves and placing them in areas where rats are known to frequent may keep them away.
  7. Rosemary: Rosemary can be used in a similar way to bay leaves, rats dislike the strong smell, and this herb can help to repel them.
  8. Sage: Sage, like rosemary and bay leaves, has a strong smell that rats dislike, this herb can also help to keep them away from your garden.

Keep in mind that these herbs and plants can only deter rats, not eliminate an infestation, and it’s important to take other measures to get rid of them and prevent them from coming back. Not to mention, these plants can bring life to your yard. Visit our blog page for more gardening tips

  • Use physical barriers

One way to deter rats from making burrows on your property is to use physical barriers. This can be as simple as covering empty dirt patches in your garden, planter boxes, or tree beds with a layer of steel mesh or another type of screen.

This is an easy and inexpensive solution that can make your property less attractive to rats and prevent them from dwelling in the soil. Besides, regular garden maintenance makes it easy to keep your garden clean and free of unwelcomed guests of this kind. 

  • Set up a rat trap

One way to catch those pesky rodents is by using traps. There are different types of traps out there, each with its own set of pros and cons. To find the best one for you, it’s important to consider what will work best for your specific situation. If you just want to catch and release rats, you can use a simple cage trap. 

  • Use natural predators

There are some predators that simply love to hunt rats. For example, owls, eagles, and hawks are common predators that will make it difficult for rats to live in your garden. However, it might not be a good idea for some homeowners to keep them as pets legally. So, you may consider having a cat or dog or both of them to keep rats away from your property. 

  • Use a natural rat repellent

While you can find rat-killing poisons in the market, it is recommended to try some natural rat repellent first. For example, pure peppermint, citronella, and eucalyptus oils emit odours that are unappealing to rats.

To repel them, try placing a few drops of the oils in strategic locations or saturating cotton wool balls with the oils and leaving them in areas where rats move frequently. If you’ve already tried these methods, reach out to a professional pest control service! 

Where Do Rats Nest in The Gardens

These little animals love to live in areas that provide warmth, shelter, and access to food and water. This is why you may experience rat problems in your garden or other outdoor spaces if they provide suitable conditions for rats to build their homes.

During the colder seasons, they may seek to enter your home, so it is important to pay attention to signs of rodent infestation even if you think they may only be outside. Ignoring these signs can lead to problems down the line.

Final Thoughts

Rats are nocturnal which means they are most active during the night and during the early morning and late evening. Even though they may be bold at times, they typically do their best to avoid any contact with humans. 

Usually, they will only come out when it is very quiet and peaceful, to minimize the risk of interacting with people. Make sure to identify rodent infestation and keep rats away from your garden and house. 

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