‘Effective methods to deter rats from your garden – ‘they hate it!’

Rats crawl and jump out of bins in horrifying footage

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Rats in the garden is a common problem for almost anyone who’s been living in a house. There are hundreds of things which may attract rodents to your property. Since rats have a decent population they are the most prevalent animal you can spot at the territory of your garden or even indoors. This is because gardens give the perfect living conditions for these pests such as shelter and food and if left undisturbed, they will multiply and increase their numbers fast, which will only further increase the scale of the infestation. This will make getting rid of them harder and at much higher costs.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Jordan Foster, pest control expert at Fantastic Pest Control, said: “Rats get into your garden because it’s a constant food source and a great hiding place. 

“They are a very intelligent species. The critters are experts at hiding and will wait for you to go to sleep at night to come out of their burrows so they can wreck your yard or garden.

“Getting rid of the rodents requires serious rat control methods or hiring a pro. Nonetheless, there are a few things you can do yourself to get rid of rats in the garden.”

1. Plant your own pest control

One plant in particular is peppermint because due to the strong scent it produces, “they hate it”, according to Jordan.

Peppermint is a perennial plant, which means it only needs to be planted once, and it will return each spring on its own.

The expert also suggested using peppermint oil. He said: “Place cotton in the burrow after it’s been dipped in peppermint. You’ll need to change the cotton every three to four days, but the rats won’t stick around for too long.”

For those looking for a stronger option, Jordan noted: “Bay leaves are deadly for rats. They eat it thinking it’s food. It’s poisonous for them, so they’re going to die.

“The smell helps rats find food and avoid dangerous situations, such as coming near predators or something repulsive. Imagine one of the most pleasing smells for humans – lavender – can have quite the opposite effect on rats. 

“They try to avoid plants like this. Plant it around decks, garden structures, and around the perimeter of your garden where rats might be attracted.”

The pest control expert also explained that onions ward off rats. He said: “You can grow onion in your garden or place it at the most common entry points for rats. 

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“Once they smell it, they’ll run. Don’t forget to put fresh onions every few days to make sure it is effective, or they’ll rot. Making beds with onion, garlic, and leeks is a great way to keep rodents and other pests at bay.”

However, Jordan warned: “Onions can be dangerous for pets, though. It’s especially dangerous for dogs.”

2. Get rid of all the clutter

Typically, tidy gardens are less likely to attract rats as they provide less cover for them to hide.

The expert advised: “The first step is removing all the clutter that gives rats a place to hide. They might find your garden inhospitable even if you have plenty of food in some cases. 

“The lawn is included in this – mow your grass regularly because high grass is perfect for hiding.”

3. Remove water sources 

Rats can’t survive without water. While it’s not advisable to remove garden ponds or bird baths, removing other sources of water, including dripping taps, can help deter rats.

Jordan said: “Taking sprinklers and birdbaths off your lawn can be tricky, but it’s a good idea. Rats can’t survive without water, so this would be effective as they’d stay away.”

4. Store furniture and wood away

Soft furnishings can be attractive napping spots for rats, particularly if the furniture or cushion is also somewhat hidden. However, even if the furnishings are exposed, rats may chew through the material to get to any underlying padding.

The expert advised: “You probably know rats love soft surfaces just as much as we do. Store cushions to keep them clean and free of rat poop and urine. Store your patio furniture cushions in a cabinet when not in use.”

If a rat chews into a cushion, two things may happen. First, it might remove stuffing to get padding for its nest. Second, it may simply move into the hole it creates, using that as a nest.

Woodpiles are filled with nooks and crannies that can serve as hiding spots for rats so it is best to make sure that woodpiles aren’t in the open. 

Jordan explained: “When rats need some privacy, woodpiles are the perfect place to hide. If you keep a woodpile away from your house or fence, rats won’t be able to get in. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground and four feet away from anything.

“Whenever rats get too many, it’s hard to get rid of them, so you should always be on the lookout for the first signs and take action. Unless you get professional rat pest control help, you may have difficulty getting rid of a rat infestation if you let it get out of control.”

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