Pest of the Month: Rats, Mice et al

You may find signs of hungry rodents in your veg patch over the next few months… the little things will be searching for food, creating tunnels and holes as they make new paths. Compost piles, sheds and greenhouses all offer perfect shelter for rats too, making your veg patch look very attractive to them indeed. The best way to keep numbers down is to minimise attractive shelters and available food. Here are our top tips for keeping numbers down:

  • Turn compost piles regularly. Rodents don’t like their homes being disturbed so this will discourage them from settling in!
  • Make sure anything that is even remotely edible in the shed is kept in a metal bucket or similar. That includes harvested pumpkins and potatoes etc that you may be storing in a shed, as well as more unusual things like, for example, liquid feed which can attract them.
  • Sweep up shed floors and remove any straw/wood shavings/ sheets of cardboard that can be used to make nests.
  • Harvest root veggies – they will happily nibble carrots, beetroots and other root veggies, especially as other food becomes more scarce. If you’re having any trouble, it’s best to pull up your crops and store them in the house so that you don’t lose them all to rodents!
  • Clean up underneath bird feeders – fallen seeds and nuts are an easy food source for rats and mice, so keep these areas clean.
  • Remove garden clutter – again, you’re trying to reduce the chances of them setting up home, and sheltered spots underneath general “clutter” would make a good home for a rat.
  • Get a cat. Or a terrier. 

Personally, we’re not fans of rat poison and death traps. If we had to choose, we’d go for a “humane” rat trap, but we’re not convinced how helpful this is anyway, as there are always more rodents and you can’t catch them all! If, like us, you’re not keen on using traps, you may wish to try an ultrasonic repeller….however, we have never tried them ourselves so can’t vouch for their effectiveness! As mentioned, the best method is to try and keep attractive habitats and food to a minimum.


ps. This is the only picture of a mouse/rat that we have, so please forgive the early appearance of a Santa hat!!