How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Backyard for Good

Bill Taylor
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Plan of Action

You must remain tidy in your home in order to keep rats out. All garbage must be properly secured. Garbage cans should be kept in a clean space at all times. Trash and recycling bins must also be properly closed and kept in their designated areas. Food waste should not be placed in the trash can rather it should be properly disposed of in a trash compactor.

Remove Pet Food

Store pet food in tight and clean containers. Pet food should not remain unattended for long periods of time. Rats are able to eat pet food very quickly. Pet food bins must be caged off to prevent rodent access. In some areas having a pet is against the law or is not allowed, so you need to research your local ordinances. Rats have a taste for pet food and will in fact even attack your smaller pets to feed on them.

Do Not Leave Exposed Foods or Food Preparations Out

All food must be covered and destroyed after each us. Food waste should not be left exposed on the counter. It should also not be placed in the sink or left on plates on the table. If you must do this, use a trash bin and dispose of any food waste immediately after eating.

Repair, Seal, Close and Block All Potential Points of Entry.

Why You Have Rats in Your Yard

A rat in your backyard may be a sign of construction going on around your property, or it could be a symptom of a larger infestation. In any case, you need to take the necessary steps to remove the rats or you'll find yourself with a problem larger than you want, or even knowing how to handle.

Your goal is to get rid of the rats without harming humans or pets, and without damaging the integrity of your home or yard. If you have small children, the last thing you want is a couple of rats poisoning them.

By following these steps, you can rid your backyard of rats without ever having to set foot inside your home. In fact, you can even eliminate rats that have made their way into your home.

Step 1: Remove Whatever is Attracting Rats

It’s a well-known fact that once rats get into a location, they tend to nest and stay for long periods of time. One of the best ways to ensure that you take care of your rat problem quickly is to remove whatever might be attracting them in the first place. If you’ve ever looked around your backyard, you’re probably noticing quite a few things that may be drawing in the pests.

In the vegetable garden, your bounty of squash, peppers, and other delicious treats could be luring in rats. If you keep your pet food in a spot by the outside, rats may be attracted to that location.

After you’ve found the food source, remove it by storing it in a secure, enclosed place. Also, clean up any food or garbage that’s in the immediate area. If the rats have found that the trash can is a great place to snack on in the middle of the night, replace the whole trash can with a secure storage container.

Step 2: Don’t Make Your Yard Inviting

Only you can take the most important step to prevent rats from taking up residence in your yard. What is it? It is not leaving food products in your yard. It might be garbage, dog food, bird seed or even as simple as a rotten fruit.

Why are these things so important to rats? We mentioned that rats are more likely to inhabit urban areas. It is not just because there is more food and shelter to be had in city. It is also because the rats in urban areas are fighting for survival. In the wild, a rat litter is able to grow up in a matter of weeks. A rat in a city block is not. It is fighting for its survival from the day it is born. A rat whose mother is going to die is going to try and go to every length to survive. If that means scavenging for anything it can find to eat, then so be it. It is biologically driven to take big risks in a city environment.

Dry cat and dog food, or birdseed left on the ground is a risk. Garbage is a huge risk to rats. Do not leave food of any kind in your yard.

Don’t Give Rats a Place to Call Home

Although rat traps are a mainstay of eliminating rats in your yard, you need to make sure that they have nothing better to do than visit your property. You want to take measures to ensure that they have no interest in what you have to offer. Providing a sufficient supply of viable rat food is the key to eliminating rats in your backyard.

Once you remove the food source from the picture, you are giving rats no other choice but to find another neighborhood to call home… preferably one with very effective traps.

Early detection of rats in your backyard is the key to success. Rats are crafty when it comes to gaining access to available food sources. It’s important to look beyond the obvious places and think like a rat.

Rat activity is often observed in open fields, near fallen trees and rocks, and the space under structures and debris. They also love to make nests inside of buildings. To get rid of rats successfully, you can’t forget about the possibilities under ledges, pipes, decks, and bridges. Even if you have traps set these are good starting places to begin eliminating rats from your backyard.

Step 1: Get Rid of any Hiding Places

Most rats won’t hang out in the open, but if they have a safe hiding place or a way into your home…like pipes or crevices…then you are better off to remove them. Rats can squeeze into tight spaces, but they don’t like to contact pig tails, rhinestone pet collars (plastic) etc.

Rats will nest in wood boxes, in bushes, ponds and woodpiles, and under sheds…and, in the wild, rats use caves and burrows to hide. Regularly cleaning out any bush or woodpile and storage buildings will keep rats out. Using a flashlight to search out spaces like under sheds and in wood piles can help you find mice, nests and droppings.

Reclaiming Your Home

To get rid of rats, it was once believed that the home must be boarded up and sealed off. You offered the rats enough food to keep them satiated and let them breed; and then over time, you cleaned them out.

Now, however, it is known that rats do not need to infest a home and go back to their exact same hiding spots every time. They will instead hide out in whatever safe place they find, and they won’t stay for long. They are like gypsies who relocate when the going gets tough. They live in roadways, sewers, attics, between walls, and in other places.

This means, that while it is best to keep the rats out of the home, you should at least recognize that the rats themselves will only rarely live in your home. Having this knowledge means you can nip them in the bud right out in the open.

If you see rats outside in your yard, you can try simple and more natural ways of handling this issue. Don’t waste your time with traps or poison–there are so many more effective options out there.

Step 1: Consider Your Choices

There are a lot of things to consider when trying to figure out how to get rid of rats in your backyard. You'll need to think about how big of a problem rats are in your region and in what form are they attacking you. Are you having issues with rats in your attic? Do you notice rats scurrying in your flower pots and garden? Do you hear rats chattering or gnawing in your walls?

Next, you need to decide how long you are willing to wait before you can get rid of the problem. There are times when you can't wait and you need to find out how to get rid of rats right away. If you can afford to wait, you have an option to take steps towards a long-term solution.

If you choose to take the long-term route, you may need to wait a few years before you completely have gotten rid of the rats. As mentioned, rats are crafty creatures and can be difficult to exterminate.

A Closer Look at Types of Rat Poison

Rats can cause harm to you, not just through disease, but also through damage to property. They chew on wires in your walls and carry spoiled food and feces into your home. If you find a rat in your yard, it’s unlikely that he is there by accident. There is some motivation for his behavior, but you can only be successful if you gain the technique and know how to get rid of rats outside.

There are many types of rat poison on the market. Select a poison that is specific to rats. These will generally be larger than mouse-poison pellets. Most of us will go for traps, since the other alternatives are frightening or dangerous. They are the least expensive, as well. The most common type is the spring or snap-trap. You may find these traps in your local hardware store. Using them is simple. Bait the trap, with an enticing morsel. Place it where the rat can reach it, but where it won’t be disturbed by humans or pets. You do not want to poison them in your home! Read the instructions carefully. Most have poisons that are deadly to humans and pets.

Things to Remember When Using Rat Control Methods

Though you might have tried many rat control methods, there is a fair chance that you have not succeeded in getting the rats out of your soil and away from your house for good. A rat problem is one of the hardest problems to solve. There are a number of reasons why you hadn’t been able to achieve complete eradication, including the fact that you may not have used the right rat control methods in the right order. Consider all of the methods that are available to you, and follow the steps that have been proven to work. If you still are unsuccessful, consider hiring a professional. A professional abatement company can conduct a thorough inspection to pinpoint your rat problem and recommend treatment accordingly.

The first step in any rat control program is to eliminate all food sources. Remove your pet’s food bowl, and store pet food in tightly sealed containers. Always clean up any spillage. Never leave food out for the birds or stray cats, as this will only attract more rats. Keep all trash in a covered bin that can be stored in a locked garage after pick-up. Don’t leave pet food lying around for birds and rodents to share.

Final Thoughts

When rats are present in your backyard, they will look for shelter to sleep. Occasionally, rats will make nests under piles of lumber, in woodpiles, and in your garages. You can seal off the rat holes and make sure the rats are gone within a few days.

Expect to spend a little on rodent traps before the rats are gone. You can clean the attic and seal the holes to prevent rodent problems in the future.