How to Get Rid of Garden Rats

Overview

Rats like to eat the same things that people do. So it should come as no surprise that rats like your garden almost as much as you do. Rats in the garden can leave an unsanitary mess behind. Not only will they chew through your vegetables, but they will also leave droppings that can be laden with diseases. Rats will also eat through your wire cages and plant ties, but because rats are taste sensitive, they may not touch toxic baits.

Step 1

Remove ground vegetation such as weeds, mulch and dead plant material between the rows of your plants. These materials will give rats a place to burrow and hide.

Step 2

Cultivate between your plant rows with a rototiller. Rats will burrow beneath the ground if they can’t find places above ground to hide. By cultivating beneath the ground, you will destroy the holes that rats build.

Step 3

Store seeds in airtight plastic containers. Enclose fruits and vegetables in cages made of bent chicken wire to keep rats from getting to them. Rats that are cut off from their food supplies will move on.

Step 4

Seal up all entrances to storage sheds so that rats can’t get inside. Caulk the cracks around windows and enclose the cracks around pipes with hardware cloth that has been stapled over holes.

Step 5

Place snap traps in your garden to catch rats. Leave the snap traps baited with peanut butter, but do not set them for a time while rats become used to them. Then set the traps to catch rats.

Step 6

Scatter mothballs around your garden. The scent will often drive rats away.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Plastic storage tub
  • Chicken wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Hardware cloth
  • Staples
  • Caulk
  • Snap traps
  • Peanut butter
  • Mothballs

References

  • King County: How to get rid of rats
  • University of Delaware: Animals in the Garden
  • University of Florida: Pests

Who Can Help

  • Extension: How Can I Get Rid of Rats?
Keywords: removing garden rats, rat repellent, killing rats

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."