How to Get Rid of Rats From a Compost Heap


Composting is an effective method to reduce waste, create fertilizer for the garden and cut the cost of refuse disposal. There can be problems with open compost heaps or the materials used within the compost, and rats using the compost heap for food is a major problem. It is possible to remove the rats by changing the methods and materials used in composting.

Step 1

Build an enclosed compost container. The best method to get rid of rats in a compost heap is to put the compost into an enclosed container. Put three cinder blocks sideways on the ground. Set the 55-gallon drum upright on top of the cinder blocks. Make sure the drum has a lid with a hole that can be plugged; use the hole when you need to drain the built-up liquid in the drum. Use the hole punch to punch equally spaced holes around the drum for aeration. Put a ring of heavy gauge wire mesh under the base of the bin. Put another ring of heavy gauge wire around the inside wall of the bin in case the rats chew through the bin. This will make it hard for rats to get to the compost material.

Step 2

Remove animal fat from the compost. Use only organic vegetable waste such as vegetable peelings or leftover vegetables. Use garden and lawn waste. Remove anything protein- or animal-based such as egg shells, meats, oils and bread because decomposing protein and meat is what attracts the rats.

Step 3

Add heat. Paint the outside of the bin black. Put the bin in a sunny location. The color attracts sunlight and will help heat up the compost bin and the material inside it. Rats do not like heat and will avoid it. This also speeds up the composting process.

Step 4

Add water. Rats do not like moisture. Pour water into the compost material with the garden hose daily to keep the material wet. Make sure to water the material evenly. Avoid having standing water in the bin as this can attract mosquitoes, which carry viruses.

Step 5

Mix the compost thoroughly. Add new material by folding it into the compost until it cannot be seen. Tip the barrel onto its side on the ground. Roll the barrel around at least two full rotations. This will mix the new and old material to help hide the smell and speed up the composting process.

Things You'll Need

  • 55-gallon metal drum
  • Cinder blocks
  • Heavy gauge wire mesh
  • Hole punch
  • Black paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Garden hose


  • Whatcom County - Washington State University: Rats in Compost
  • Seattle and King County: How to Get Rid of Rats
  • Grist - Umbra Fisk: Keeping Compost Rat-Free

Who Can Help

  • Clean Technica: Bokashi Composting Method
Keywords: rats in compost, composting problems, composting methods, natural rat removal

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.