If you think your home or garage is the only place to worry about rats, think again. These destructive rodents are happy living in your yard as long as it provides them with creature comforts. Explore how to get rid of rats outside and discover tips for preventing an outdoor rat infestation.
We all try our best to keep mice and rats out of the home, yet rodents are also a problem outside the house, mainly if you live in a warmer climate. They reside in cozy areas of the yard and feast on food like bird seed, pet food, trash, and garden scraps.
If you see one mouse or rat, there’s a good chance you have plenty more since a female rat lays five to 12 pups per litter, with up to seven litters a year – a couple of rodents can produce 84 offspring yearly. That’s a lot of rats! Fortunately, there are safe and effective ways to get rid of outdoor rats and prevent them from returning.
- Ways to Get Rid of Rats Outside
- What Causes an Outdoor Rat Problem?
- Common Signs of Outdoor Rats
- Getting Rid of Rats Outside With Natural Predators
- How to Kill Rats Outdoors With Traps
- How to Humanely Trap Rats
- How to Get Rid of Rats Outside With Smoke Bombs
- Using Dry Ice to Get Rid of Rats
- Getting Rid of Rats by Removing Plants Rats Love
- Using Plants to Keep Rats Out of the Yard
- Ways to Prevent Rats Outside
Ways to Get Rid of Rats Outside
While it may seem that a rat problem outside is harmless, these rodents are destructive, and it’s essential to perform pest control to keep them in check. Learn why you may have rats in your yard, common signs of an infestation, and how to eliminate them for good, whether you mix your own homemade mouse poison or catch them in a live trap for release elsewhere.
What Causes an Outdoor Rat Problem?
If you live in a cold region, you know why rodents head indoors in the winter. Yet, what causes a rat infestation in the yard? Discover why you may have rats hanging out around your house to help you better understand the situation.
The main thing that attracts rats to your property is odor. Rats are drawn by smells from a trash can, bird feeder, barbecue grill, unharvested fruits, veggies, nuts, and pet food. Once they find a location that provides them with these foods, they tend to nest in the area for regular feeding.
While you can easily purchase or make an all natural rat repellent solution, there are other remedies that are just as simple and take little time to initiate.
Common Signs of Outdoor Rats
It’s useful to know signs to look for to determine whether you’re dealing with a couple of rats or a rodent infestation. It’s also helpful to ensure you place the trap in the right area.
Rats make burrows in gardens, tree beds, and lawns, and active tunnels have smooth walls of hard-packed dirt with a loose soil entrance two to four inches across. They also nest in shrubs, vines, and bushy plants, where they are protected from weather and predators. Other common signs of rats are rat droppings, gnaw marks, and fresh tracks of worn-down paths in the grass.
Getting Rid of Rats Outside With Natural Predators
Use natural predators to keep rodents away from your outdoor space. Nature has a way of keeping itself in check, and predators are excellent at getting rid of rats outside. They keep the rat population under control and do all the work for you.
Owls and other birds of prey are rat predators, and building an owl house on your property keeps the rat population in check. Other critters to keep rats away from your garden are snakes and weasels. If you don’t already own a cat, you might consider getting one since felines are notorious for hunting rodents.
How to Kill Rats Outdoors With Traps
Traps are ideal for getting rid of rats if you’re not squeamish about killing rodents. Your neighbors may frown upon you using rat poison to eliminate rodents, especially if they have children. Find out how to kill rats outdoors with a snap trap and bait.
Snap traps can hurt other animals, so place the trap in a milk crate or box to ensure raccoons and stray cats are not injured. Instead of using poison baits, use peanut butter as bait by smearing it on the rat trap.
In the evening, position the trap near the burrow or other area where you notice rat activity, bait and arm it, and check it in the morning. Discard the dead rat in a plastic bag, tie it shut, and place it in the outside trash can.
How to Humanely Trap Rats
Construct a live-trapping system to capture rats. If you prefer a humane way to control rats, live bait traps are excellent for getting rid of rats outside. Live traps allow you to catch a rat outside and relocate it to an area well away from your home.
Position the trap in an area where you suspect rats or if you are catching mice outside. Smear peanut butter on a sheet of cardboard, place it at the back of the trap and set it. Check the trap regularly when you use a rat trap because leaving a trapped rat for an extended time is unwise. Once you capture a rat, put on heavy gloves, and release it at least two miles away from your home.
How to Get Rid of Rats Outside With Smoke Bombs
Smoke bombs are excellent for outdoor rat control. They are simple to use and are most helpful in eliminating the Norway rat, which lives underground in burrows and tunnels. Use a smoke bomb to get rid of rats from the lawn.
Locate the rat burrow entrance, light the smoke bomb, insert it six inches into the tunnel hole, and quickly shovel dirt into the opening. The smoke bomb emits thick and toxic smoke into the burrow, effectively eliminating the rats.
Using Dry Ice to Get Rid of Rats
Dry ice is a quick and effective way to eliminate rats with the least suffering. It anesthetizes and kills the rodent, and it’s the best method if the rat burrow is near the house. Learn how to kill rats outdoors using dry ice.
Walk around the yard and search for the rat burrow. Once you find the entrance, scoop dry ice pellets into the tunnel and shovel dirt over the hole. To trap rats outside when there is more than one burrow, use two pounds of dry ice per tunnel.
Getting Rid of Rats by Removing Plants Rats Love
The best way to get rid of a brown rat is to remove its food source. Unfortunately, rats love eating much of the same foods we do, which is why you find them congregating around fruit and vegetable gardens. Avoid growing their favorite plant foods outdoors.
If you grow cypress and palm trees on the premises, there’s a good chance you’ll draw rats. These rodents also seek shelter in ivy, and feast on tulip bulbs, corn, and certain root vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, turnips, peas, green beans, and other legumes.
Using Plants to Keep Rats Out of the Yard
While there are many plants rats love, there are some plants these rodents hate and avoid. Grow a few of these plants around your property to send rats in the opposite direction. Keep field mice and rats away from your garden shed by growing some of these plants.
If you enjoy growing flowers, consider planting chrysanthemums, daffodils, and scented geraniums for rodent control.
If you prefer to grow herbs and edible plants, rosemary, peppermint, black pepper, and onions are great additions to the garden and keep rodents at bay. Elderberry, camphor laurel, and bergamot have essential oils and scents that deter mice and rats.
Ways to Prevent Rats Outside
Rats spread germs, viruses, and diseases, and setting up rat traps is a task we’d rather avoid. Luckily, there are ways to make your outdoor space less inviting to rodents so they’ll set up residence elsewhere.
Always secure outdoor trash cans because trash is a primary food source for rodents. If you feed birds and other wildlife, consider using a rat-proof feeder and keep birdseed in an airtight container.
Cut back trees and shrubs, keep the garden well-maintained, and remove water sources. Install mesh covers on the roof vent since this is an ideal entry point for the roof rat, and seal cracks with caulk. Apply weatherstripping around windows and doors to keep rats out of the house, garage, or shed.
It’s vital to repel rats from your living space for disease control. Place glue traps or a bait station with rat poison around the vicinity as soon as you discover rat activity, like rat droppings and nesting material, or use humane rat repellents.
All a rat needs to call a place home is a cozy area to nest and a food source. Unfortunately, male and female rats quickly increase the rat population. It’s relatively easy to evict rats from your yard, and inviting natural predators, and growing rat-repellent plants keeps them from returning.
Now that you’ve learned how to get rid of rats outside for a rodent-free yard, why not share our outdoor rat removal techniques with your circle of friends and family with rat problems on Pinterest and Facebook?