Preventing Rats in the Garden and Home

rat outdoors

Rats can be a problem in the garden and greenhouse as well as in the house, garage and other outbuildings. Rats are most active at night. Under cover of darkness, they dig and burrow in search of food. Rats will eat a wide range of meats, fish, dog and cat food, nuts, vegetables and fruits.

Rat Prevention and Control

  • The first line of defense is to create a rat-unfriendly environment by removing access to food, water and shelter. Seal pathways that could be used to enter buildings. Store pet food, poultry food and birdseed in steel storage bins or galvanized steel trash cans. Keep garbage in secured bins and dispose of it promptly. Compost piles are particularly effective rat magnets. Food scraps should be composted in an enclosed bin with a tight-fitting lid. To ensure rats cannot gain access by burrowing under the bin, line the underside with hardware cloth or another sturdy material that rats will not be able to chew through.
  • Once a population of rats gets established in your yard, it can take several years to get rid of them. Persistence is critical.
  • It is possible, though difficult, to trap rats using snap traps. If using rat poison, always exercise extreme caution as rat poison poses a real danger to pets and children.

Last updated: 03/11/2024