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A rat problem is a genuine issue that affects a lot of gardeners as well as homes. If you find the rat infestation in the garden or backyard then it can be particularly damaging since they are likely to contaminate the plants, vegetation, and flowers and pose a potential danger to the family as well as pets. In addition to this during the time of the winter, these rodents are likely to be attracted and motivated to enter your homes so that they can get warm shelter as well as sufficient food. As is the case with many other rodents, the rats are known to cause damage to cables as well as wooden structures in addition to spreading the various infectious diseases. Thus it is important to get rid of the rats from your backyard or garden efficiently so that they won’t return and your garden can become rat-free.

Things to understand about the rats in the backyard

The gardens and backyards are one of the most favorite places for rodents such as rats to assemble and make a home for themselves. The most common types of rodents that are found in the gardens and the backyards include mice, rats, and moles. It doesn’t matter how big or small a backyard is, it serves as one of the prime locations for the rodents to settle. These rodents such as rats can inflict some serious damage to the various plantations that are in your backyard.

One of the reasons why the rats thrive in the backyard is because they find a constant supply of discarded food as well as waste which provides the necessary nutrients to them. Besides this, the wood, the trees, and benches, as well as plastic ornaments, serve as enough fodder for them to chew on. The backyard also serves as a perfect place for the rats to hide behind the furniture, under the pile of grass, in the shrubs, firewood, leaves, and the glasshouses as well as under the barrels amongst others.

What type of rats have I got?

Various types of garden rodents can be found in the backyard which includes house mouse, brown rat, field vole, wood mouse and bank vole amongst others. Even though the rats are experts in hiding across various places in the backyard there are some definite signs as well as indicators which suggest that the rats have indeed populated your backyard. You must pay proper attention to the various areas in the garden like compost piles, rubbish bins, firewood stacks, and pipes and other similar places to look out for indications such as nibble marks, bites on the wood and paper. You will notice that some of the wooden boxes or the olden newspapers have been subjected to the rat bites. You might also notice that the discarded food has been disturbed and messed up by these rodents.

The rodents will burrow the nests near the food supply where they can find a safe place.  You might be able to note the track marks like the disturbance of the grass, starting from nest to food. The rats are creatures of habit and thus are likely to use the same path when they are looking for their food. You can also notice the mouse dropping or the rat droppings and if these droppings are moist then it is an indication that there has been rat activity in recent times. All of these indicators are a big proof of the fact that your backyard has been infested and affected by the presence of rodents and rats.

How to tell I have a rat problem?

Some of the common signs and indicators that indicate the presence of rats include burrows in a diameter of about 6-9 cm which can be located about anywhere which is most undisturbed and near the food. Track marks that cover the banks, hedges, walls, and vegetation. The rats are known to memorize the pathways and therefore will use the same routes from the shelter and vice versa. The smear marks can be found along with the wood, metal or stone-like on the fencing, steps and the gate posts. There are droppings of 15 to 20 mm long which is flat, cylindrical at one of the ends and pointed towards the other. They are supposed to be moist when they are fresh and but become dry within a few hours. You must also look out for the damage to the barriers and packaging like fences and doors.

What damage can rats cause?

In terms of the damage that the rats can cause to the backyard or the garden, it could be massive. For instance, the sight of the rodents in the backyard is not is going to affect the value of your house or property and the numerous health risks that it presents is an added disadvantage. The rodents are known to be one of the most notorious spreaders and carriers of various diseases and illnesses. The rats potentially can cause a lot of damage to your backyard over some time. The burrows of the rats can cause uneven surfaces and holes in the backyard. The fences that are made of wood are particularly prone to be affected by the bites of the rats and constant gnawing of the rats can make any wooden container or structure weak. Another danger that these rodents pose is by damaging the water pipes or even electrical wires which can potentially have very serious consequences. In addition to this, the rats can also cause damage to the cars that are parked in the backyard.

If you are storing seeds or food in the backyard then it is likely to attract the attention of the rodents. The rats are likely to chew through the containers and make way into the stock. You must also be careful regarding the risks that are posed when you leave the pet food unguided or unattended in the backyard. If you are growing food in the garden then you must ensure that the crop you are raising doesn’t serve as a fodder stock for the rats.

Ways of getting rid of the rats from the backyard

There are several ways in which you can get rid of the rats from the backyard. Let us have a look at some of the effective and efficient ways in which you can complete the task of eliminating the rodent from your garden.

Sanitizing the backyard: Keeping the backyard tidy and clean is one of the most important points which is essential in preventing a rat problem Sanitizing your area means that the rats won’t get too comfortable with the surroundings in your place.

The rats flee open spaces and therefore the lesser the overgrown grass areas which are full of the junk the lesser rat population you are likely to encounter in the backyard. For this, you must ensure that the grass is properly trimmed promptly and there are no extravagant piles of the wood or any other stacked up items that are likely to provide shelter to the rodents.

You must ensure that the storage sheds are properly closed and there no tiny gaps that will facilitate the entry of rats into your backyard.

The rats use even the smallest of openings to enter so you need to close off all the openings and ensure that the rats don’t have access to the grass clippings, paper, cardboard or the bush.

You must eliminate any sort of access that might be available for the food items such as fallen fruit and the vegetable produce or nuts that have fallen on the ground. Also, you must also ensure that trash cans are secure and emptied regularly. You must also avoid putting the pet out for a long period.

How to get rid of rats in the backyard?

Elimination of existing rats: If you find that your backyard has already been infested with the rats then there are two main ways of getting rid of them: mechanical traps and poison baits. Amongst the two the mechanical traps are recommended because using poison baits can have repercussions on other animals, pets, vegetations and sometimes even your children. Amongst the mechanical traps, some of the common techniques used include glue or electrical traps, live traps, garden traps and snap traps amongst others. The traditional version of snap traps work in most of the situations and they are also quite affordable in terms of pricing.

The live traps consist of sensors that trap the rats or rodents once they enter the unit. The glue traps, on the other hand, ensure that the rats are trapped without killing them and then you can dispose of the rats in a far off place. The snap or electrical traps, on the other hand, will kill the rats and then you would need to dispose of their bodies. You can also use online products, chemicals, and pesticides for killing the rats as per the instructions mentioned on those products. Alternatively, you can also choose to hire the services of a professional pest controller who will deal with the problem of rats in your backyard efficiently.