Dozens of rat species live in North America. The furry critters may be attracted to your garden for several reasons, including food sources like fallen fruit or an abundance of vegetation for hiding. The rats might attack your produce and ruin your garden crop. They may also carry dangerous diseases and pests like ticks or fleas. A proper defense includes both proactive and reactive strategies.
Remove the rats' food supplies. Pick up fallen fruits or vegetables that may be lying on the ground. Lock up any outdoor trash cans. If you have a garden compost pile, use a composting bin that can be sealed.
Get rid of the rats' water supplies. Put away garden equipment or unused plant pots that may collect water. Make sure your water faucets are all shut off.
Clear away garden debris. This includes stands of dead grasses or dense shrubbery, as well as piles of lumber, leaves and other material. Keeping your garden area open and airy deters rats, which don't like crossing large open areas to search for food.
Poison the rats if making your garden inhospitable doesn't sufficiently deter them. Use any type of rat bait labeled for outdoor use. For the best results, use rat bait boxes, which keep the bait shielded from the elements and limits access to the bait by children and wildlife. Place the bait box in areas of your garden in which you notice rats, such as against a garden fence or near your home.
Trap the rats as an alternative to using lethal poisons. Lethal raps kill the rat, while humane traps catch them alive for relocation. Traps can be bought or rented from garden stores, hardware stores and pest removal companies. Bait the trap with the garden produce that you notice are often fed upon by rats, such as tomatoes or fruit.