Adding some decking to your garden is a great way of improving the overall aesthetics of it.  In addition you also serve to provide a nice area to sit and relax and somewhere to do your barbequing on those long summer days.  However, many homeowners have to install raised decking due to sloping gardens or the fact that their French doors are higher than the garden level.  This can prove problematic as the area under decking makes an ideal home for rats and many who install decking can soon find that they have a rat infestation.  Here are five useful tips that can help you prevent or solve a rat problem.

The natural approach

One of the best ways to discourage rats from taking up residence in your home is to own a cat.  If you already own a cat then there is a good chance that rats will not build a nest in your garden.  In the event that rats do build a nest; the chances are that your cat will systematically weed them out one by one.  Cats are very patient creatures and will wait by the entrance and exit points that the rats use until they have killed them all.  However, owning a cat isn’t always practical – especially if you have allergies.  And we certainly wouldn’t recommend buying simply to solve a rat infestation, unless you are committed to proving it with a caring and loving home.

Trapping

Laying traps under your decking is another option for solving your rat problem.  There are the ‘humane’ options which serve to catch the rat without killing it for those that hate the idea of killing any animal.  Of course you then have the hassle of releasing the rat somewhere far enough away from your home that ensures it won’t make an unwelcome return.  Less humane options are also available which will serve to kill the rats – I’m sure you have all seen the Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Laying poison

There are various rat poison products out there that you can lay in and around your decking area.  Rats that eat poison do suffer quite a painful death and this is probably the cruellest of our five options.  There is also the chance that the rat might die in an area that is difficult to reach and the smell of a decaying rat is one of the foulest smells you will ever encounter.  At least when you lay a trap you can put it in a place that is easy to reach.  There is also a chance that cats or dogs could eat a rat after it has been poisoned; running the risk that they too will be poisoned.  All in all we think that laying poison should be your last option if nothing else seems to be working.

A modern answer

In recent years there has been the introduction of a new technology to help discourage rats and other pests.  This has come in the form of electronic repellents that emit ultrasonic sound waves.  These sound waves are undetectable to human ears, but serve to irritate rats and other pests, making your garden an unattractive proposition to them.

Making modifications

The final option to rat proofing your decking is to make some modifications to it and preventing rats the opportunity to get under there in the first place.  This can be achieved through installing some trellis underneath the decking so that there is no gap between the floor and decking base.  Before you put the decking in you should attach some chicken wire to one or even both sides so that the rats can’t get through.  Although this may detract somewhat from the aesthetics of your decking it is a very effective solution.  Also, you can now plant some climbers so that they will grow up the trellis; covering the surface area and thus hiding the chicken wire.

 

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