April 4th is World Rat Day–which is a perfectly fine day for promoting the idea of keeping rats in a cage and enjoying them as charming pets. But no one wants rats running wild and free around their home–and especially in the garden. Rats can be hard to control and even harder to get rid of, since they multiply so quickly. Once they have found a place to feed and nest, keeping them away becomes a challenge. So how do you keep those rats away from you and your prized yard? Here are some helpful hints to help you keep your yard beautiful and the rats where they belong, outside of your fence. [photo via freedigitalphotos]
- Keep a clean yard. Make sure your garbage cans have lids and all edible debris is put in the proper receptacle. This includes composting piles. If your neighbors are unwilling to follow suit, you may have to invest in deep and high secured fencing.
- Place a circular piece of metal or chicken wire at the base of any fruit trees, as this prevents rats from climbing the tree to retrieve fruit. Enclose your vegetable garden with deep and high fencing to prevent rats from stealing your produce.
- Consider adopting a cat. A cat is the single biggest threat to a rat. Even the smell of the cat and its markings will keep the rats away. If this is not an option for you, invest in rat traps.
- Don’t give rats an invitation to take up residence in your yard by leaving piles of wood, wood planks or lumber stacked in your yard and left untouched for long periods of time. They are likely to build their homes in these wooden hideaways. Give rats an eviction notice by removing the places where they like to build their homes. These include piles of wood planks and lumber that are stacked permanently and not often disturbed. Another favorite place where rats congregate include bushes, vines and shrubbery that are overgrown and never trimmed back. Piles of rocks in a yard should be leveled and holes in the foundation of the house and garage should be fixed to prevent them scurrying back and forth seeking shelter.
The removal of rats from your garden should be done as soon as you’ve spotted them. They can bring disease to your children, your pets, and to garden fruits and vegetables. Take care of your yard, and follow the steps above to keep it a peaceful place to hang out and enjoy–for yourself, not the rats.