Common garden plant rats ‘detest’ that will effectively ‘deter’ them for good

This Morning: Alice Beer shares tips for removing pests

Rats can be attracted to bird feeders, pet food, compost bins, and root vegetables. 

To prevent a rat infestation, take measures to make sure these items are stored securely and away from rats. Additionally, make sure to regularly inspect garden buildings and garden furniture, as rats can use these as hiding spots.

Strong indicators of a rat infestation in gardens include small, dark droppings and gnaw marks in specific areas like the shed or furniture.

Oliver Hill from GardenList urged that gardeners should “naturally deter rats without causing harm” as they are a part of the natural ecosystem and are “merely seeking food, water, and shelter”.

To do this the gardening pro has shared his top tips, which should make it “harder” for rats to enter gardens.

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1. Ultrasonic repellers

Ultrasonic devices are plug-in machines that emit high-frequency sounds that are inaudible to the human ear, but they can be heard by a range of animals. 

They are thought to deter mice, rats, and other pests from entering homes and gardens.

Oliver said: “These devices emit a high-frequency sound that is unpleasant to rats but is inaudible to humans. They can be an effective deterrent, though their effectiveness can vary.”

2. Natural predators 

Rats have a lot of natural predators, such as birds of prey, foxes, or cats. If gardeners work to make their garden a habitat that these predators will love, then this can be a wonderful “deterrent” for rats.

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The gardening guru suggested that installing bird boxes for owls or kestrels might be beneficial.

3. Plant mint

Gardeners can use strong scents to repel rodents. Oliver suggested that this case be done by planting mint. Peppermint and spearmint plants are the go-to options as these tend to give off the strongest odours.

Oliver claimed: “Rats detest the smell of mint. Consider planting mint around the borders of your garden to keep them away for good.” However, mint can be invasive, so consider planting it in pots or barriers to prevent it from taking over the entire garden.

Alternatively, gardeners can soak cotton balls in peppermint essential oils before placing them around the trouble spots.

4. Remove water sources

As rats need water daily and are attracted to areas where they can find it, the expert suggests removing sources of water.

It’s a tricky thing to do, but it’s a good idea to remove sprinklers and birdbaths from lawns. Unlike mice, rats cannot survive without water and this would be a good reason for them to keep away.

5. Secure garbage and compost bins

Ensure that all trash cans have tight-fitting lids to prevent rats from accessing food scraps.

For those who compost, ensure that the compost bin is well-secured. Oliver explained: “Rats are attracted to food waste. Consider using compost bins with a solid base and a tight-fitting lid.”

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