Having a spacious deck for enjoying the day or entertaining family and friends can be a homeowners dream. But nothing can ruin an enjoyable day in the outdoors like seeing the signs of a rodent infestation.
Chew marks on the wood, holes and tunnels dug through the soil, rodent droppings on and around the deck, and other signs of a rodent problem can turn an enjoyable time into an unfortunate reality.
Rats are opportunistic animals, and your deck can potentially be a very suitable home for them. If you want to ensure rats and other rodents stay far away from your deck, continue reading.
Make Your Deck Unappealing
Rodents and other pests are attracted to a variety of things. If you enjoy BBQs and meals on your deck, try to limit the amount of food waste that is left on the deck or falls under it. Rodents will search for these small tidbits of food and, if there is enough food within easy access, may turn your deck into their home.
Ensure your garbage cans are securely closed. Bird feeders can also attract rodents, so try to place those a reasonable distance away from your deck. When using the BBQ or fire pit to prepare food, ensure leftovers are removed and the grill or firepit is properly cleaned.
Limit Access for Pests
If your deck is raised off the ground, rodents may have an easy time getting underneath the deck and finding a spot to nest. The deck provides a secure cover from the elements, and a dark and protected area for rats to raise babies.
Limiting access points around your deck can force rodents to look elsewhere for a living space. The easiest option is to place hardware cloth or a fine mesh along the bottom of the deck. You can bend the bottom and peg it down with tent pegs, or place landscaping rocks over the mesh to prevent rodents from digging under.
If this looks unsightly, you can cover the wire with lattice panels, potted plants, or other outdoor decor suitable for your area to improve the overall aesthetics.
Getting Rid of Existing Pests
If pests have already decided to set up a home under your deck, your first step will be to make the area seem unwelcoming so they look elsewhere for a nesting spot.
In order to do this, you have a few options. If pets and children are nearby, using approaches such as garlic or spicy pepper flakes around the area is the safest option. The pungent odors from these items can sometimes send rodents looking for a different spot to call home.
If this option does not work, there are commercial rat repellents on the market. However, depending on the type you purchase, these can be dangerous to other animals, pets, and children.
Non-lethal options can include ultrasonic repellents, humane capture traps, and predator scents while lethal options include rat poison and rat traps.