RATS … how do we fix the problem
Well ….. let’s start by looking at a few basic things. Like all living things, rats (and rodents in general) require shelter and food to survive. The garden plots are perfect places as they’re quiet, have sheltered areas, very little predators and a great supply of food, water and nesting opportunities.
These are often great areas for rat infestations – it’s dark, warm and often full of food and nesting materials. Rat heaven!!
To make compost bins less inviting we need to ensure the bins are enclosed and don’t have an opening for rats to enter. Check to make sure there are no holes anywhere but most of all check that the bottom of the compost bin has been covered and lined with thick wire (about 2mm thick) and has small squares that baby rodents can’t get through. Using thin/fine wire is acceptable but rats sometimes may chew through these if they’re desperate to get in. The wire may rust but it should give hopefully 5 years life.
How to ‘rat-proof’ and line the bottom of compost bins … (see photos below)
- Get some thick mesh (vermin proof) about 2mm thickness and small squares, and a wire cutter.
- Place compost bin on the thick mesh and cut a rough circle around the base, keeping a few inches for folding.
- Start folding the mesh over the edges of the bottom of the compost bin ensuring there are no gaps that rodents can sneak through.
- The finished result should be a very secure base covered in wire. The compost bin can then be located in an open area free of vegetation to force the rats to be exposed, which they do not like. Or you could dig the compost bin 200mm into the soil, covering the base. Make sure to use the lid to close the compost bin.
1. Make sure grid squares are small to stop baby rodents from getting through – no good to have wire that has squares bigger than an inch (2.5cm).
Other possible deterrents …
- Water the compost bin to wet the contents – rats don’t like wet bedding
- Stir the compost bin contents to reduce nesting pockets
- Position the compost bin where there is high foot traffic – not quiet for rats
- Whack the sides of compost bin – loud, sudden and irregular noises deter rats
- Open compost ‘bins’ should be lined and covered with wire mesh on top to stop rodent entry
- Keep your plot free of: weeds, unused containers, piles of wood/stakes. Items that rats would use to nest and breed in.