Rats and mice can be a hugely destructive force in a garden not to mention a health hazard. We have had a wet and mild summer so they have had a very successful breeding season.
Mice and rats love to eat young seedlings and gnaw on young root vegetables from below, they also can decimate freshly planted bulbs.
Rodents not only love chewing, they have to to stop their teeth from getting too long so they will have a go at anything you may leave lying in your shed. As well as feeding the birds with your bird feeder you may be unwittingly treating your mice and rat population, they have no problem scaling up most things to get at the seeds.
They can also carry some quite nasty diseases. Rats are sometimes known to carry Weils disease and spread it via their urine. Mice and rats can carry salmonella which can infect any edible fruits or salads you may grow.
So knowing all this how do we get rid of them? Here is a general guide.
General good housekeeping of a garden is key to discouraging rodents. Clearing sheds of dark cluttered corners, clearing fallen leaves, regularly disturb any old log piles, keep grass from getting overgrown, basically removing anything that may act as a form of shelter for them.
Compost areas are a favourite for rats and mice so it really is critical to have this area sealed and clean if you do have a rodent problem, compost bins such as the 220L Ecomax Composter are perfect for this.
Birdfeeders are notorious for attracting rodents. A simple trick to stop them is to mix your bird seed with a healthy dose of cayenne or chilli powder. The birds are not effected by the heat but the rodents most definitely are. Once you do this they shouldn't return. (This will work for squirrels as well). You can also sprinkle this in areas that you know are frequented by them. If you have pets such as dogs or cats be aware that this will also upset them as the pepper will irritate the lining of the nose.
If you already have an established rodent problem even these methods mentioned above may not be enough. Now is the time of year that it is critical you deal with the problem. Once the colder weather creeps in your outside problem can quickly become an inside problem as they will look for warmth. If they do manage to get into your home they will quickly establish a nest and can do extremely costly damage on electrical cables not to mention become a massive health hazard. Once allowed a single rat couple can become a population of 1250 in a year!
There is a vast array of poison control available which is extremely effective. Halt Pied Piper Mouse & Rat Bait Block 2.5kg, Halt 29 Pied Piper Rat & Mouse Bait Grain 3 X 50g both attracts and kills them, coupled with Steel Bait Box, Roguard Wide Piper Rat Bait. It is crucial to use the bait boxes with the poison to prevent any pets or unintended animals getting at the poison.
Traps are also good such as Big Cheese Baited Ultra Power Rat Trap 2pk but I would always use them in conjunction with the poison.
Happy Rat Catching!