How to Prevent Rats in the Garden

Image of a rat

Rats have always been a common problem among many homeowners worldwide. Whether these rodents seek shelter in your house, yard, or garden, they can easily become a problem for you and your family.

A rodent infestation can cause significant damage to your property if you don’t take care of the issue promptly. In the case of your garden, you could easily attract rats without even knowing it. This can become a problem over time. Additionally, if you have a rat colony in your garden, you may be at risk of illness since rats often spread infectious diseases to both pets and humans.

There are many measures you can take to repel rats and take care of your plants before it’s too late. However, it’s vital for you to know how to identify what can attract rodents so that you prevent that from happening again. If you want to know more about how to prevent mice, rats, and other rodents into your garden, keep reading this guide!

Image of a rat in the garden

Why Would Rats Be In Your Garden?

Rats, mice, and rodents in general always look for three different factors: Food, shelter, and water. As long as your garden has all of these three factors, you may be attracting rodents to your prize winning squash! Keep in mind that gardens often work as an extension of the normal habitat they tend to live in since they provide food, shelter, and water.

If you have a vegetable garden, it’s going to be highly attractive for rats, even if they prefer animal protein and fat rather than vegetables. Additionally, people with sprinkler systems may provide enough water for most rats to thrive, making it a suitable environment for them. Finally, if you have overgrown areas in your garden, these could be great for many rats to build nests and hide.

Rats often colonize your garden through storage sheds, garden beds, lawns, and compost piles. If you don’t take care of the issue promptly, other rats may find a way into your home, putting you and your family at risk. Whether you’re dealing with black rats or brown rats (Norway rats), it’s vital for you to take the right rodent control measures before it’s too late.

Image of a rat in a hole

How to Tell if You Have a Rat Infestation In Your Garden

Thankfully, there are several ways to tell whether you’re having a rat problem in your garden. Typically, the primary factor that tells you that you have rats in your garden is that you saw one there. Mice and rats often go on the top of power lines, fences, and trees, so they shouldn’t be that hard to spot.

On the other hand, keep in mind that mice and rats tend to pull up the roots of your plants and bite at them, so if you’re beginning to notice that your plants are disappearing overnight, you may have a rat problem.

Mice, rats, and other rodents tend to carve holes in the soil surface of your garden to move easily along the area. If you leave rats to burrow holes continually, you may expose all your plants to severe damage. You may notice these holes easily since rodents tend to create mounds of soil to identify the entrance.

Finally, rats always leave droppings behind, so if you’re noticing small, black grains of rice in your garden, it may be a sign of rat activity in your garden.

Some of the most popular places where rodents gather include the following:

  • Compost pile
  • Garden shed
  • Trash bags/Garbage bin
  • Wood piles
  • Bird feeders

What Are the Problems of Having Rats in the Garden?

While the sight of rodents on your property is already unpleasant for everyone, there are many issues that may come from letting a rat into your garden.

First, rodents can easily destroy your garden by eating all your plants. Additionally, a rat may infect your garden with a pathogen they may carry. Keep in mind that rats often carry several diseases, such as Salmonellosis, Tularemia, and others.

If you let these rodents contaminate your vegetables, fruit, and herbs, you and your family may be at risk of suffering some health diseases. In most cases, having live or dead rats in your garden is not sanitary. Not only can poor garden sanitation attract rats and other animals, but it can also cause plant diseases.

How to Prevent a Rat Infestation in the Garden

If you’re experiencing rat problems in your garden, there are some measures you can take to get rid of rats or deter them from your property. Once you identify the source of the problem, it’s time to take the right steps into catching rats and preventing them from contaminating your garden and home.

Image of a pet's water bowl

Remove Water Sources

Rats often look for sources of standing water to consume it continually. Some of these water sources include irrigation lines, leaky faucets, pools, and even your pets’ water bowls. If you have any of these water sources mentioned before, make sure to cover or remove them so that rats can’t access and contaminate them.

Remember that water sources attract rats, and if they gain access to them, they can easily contaminate your water supply. Overall, all your plants may be at risk of consuming contaminated water, and your family may be too.

Secure any Compost

Your compost pile is one of the most attractive areas where rats may look for food. First, you must do your best to get food scraps away from your compost. Additionally, you may get rodent-proof containers to deter rats from your compost.

If you want to make your compost hard to access by rats, you could also place chicken wire or hardware cloth under the compost pile. In case your compost has any holes or cracks, you may seal them with durable materials, such as steel wool. Finally, an effective method to get rid of rats is to move around your pit continually so that rats don’t feel comfortable being around it.

Prevent Access to Decking

Your deck is also a place where a rat can go looking for food scraps since they often find hiding places there. In these cases, you may consider replacing your deck’s fixed panels with removable panels so that you can make a thorough inspection of the area and place any live traps you may need.

On the other hand, you must ensure to block access to your deck if possible. Decks are some of the most popular ways to make your garden look more attractive, but they’re also the perfect place for a rat to seek shelter. If none of these solutions work, you may try installing a patio so that rats don’t have easy access to it.

Secure Outdoor Sheds

Garden sheds are another suitable environment for a rat to live in. If you have outdoor sheds, make sure they’re uncluttered and secured. In these cases, a good pest control measure is to keep any storage spaces as clean as possible to make them uninhabitable for rats.

As mentioned before, poor garden sanitation can easily lead to problems with rodents. As long as you store food in rodent-proof containers and keep everything else tidy, you’re not likely to experience any problems.

Image of fallen fruits

Clean Up Any Food Sources (Pet Food, Fallen Fruit, etc.)

You may sometimes leave food outside without noticing, such as pet food, birdseed, kitchen scraps, and others. It’s highly recommended for you not to place these foods into your compost since that could lead to rats looking there for their food. Instead, you may place these items inside your home or in a rodent-proof container.

In the case of fallen fruit or vegetables, it’s vital for you to take them away from your garden as soon as possible. The more these items decompose, the more attractive they’re going to become for rats nearby, making the problem even worse.

Stop Feeding Birds

If you’re experiencing rat problems, you may want to avoid feeding wild birds and other pets for a while. Keep in mind that rats are attracted to fallen food, such as birdseed, so they may try climbing up feeding stations to feed themselves.

Additionally, you may try getting rid of any overgrown vegetation in your garden. Rats have poor eyesight, so they’re unlikely to be able to climb hard-to-reach places. Once you’re certain that you don’t have a rat infestation anymore, you can start feeding animals again.

Keep Things Tidy

As mentioned throughout this article, one of the best pest control measures you can take is to keep your garden tidy. This involves keeping your grass short, clearing away cluttered areas, and trimming any overgrown areas you may have.

Remember that cluttered gardens may give rats easy access to your property, so take care of those issues as soon as you can. Clean gardens don’t provide as much shelter as rats typically need, making them less attractive to these animals.

Image of a rat in a trap

Using Rat Traps

An effective way to get rid of rats is to use rat traps. Most people use traditional snap traps since they have proven to be more effective than other methods. We highly recommend using a snap trap instead of bait stations with peanut butter, cotton balls, biodegradable soap, or dried mint since they’re not effective against other rat traps and may cause further problems for your garden.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are several pest control measures you can take to minimize rodent problems in your garden. However, if you’re experiencing too many issues with these rodents, it’s highly recommended for you to talk with a pest control company.

The professionals at AAAC Wildlife Removal have all the necessary tools and traps to get rats away from your garden and home forever. If you’re looking to solve your rodent issue promptly, make sure to schedule an inspection with the AAAC Wildlife Removal team. We’ll solve your rat problem in a flash!

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