Few things kill a party faster than rats suddenly showing up and perhaps startling guests.
Besides being party killers, rats under your deck (close to your house) may pose health hazards to you and your family.
Rats may carry diseases like Tularemia, Salmonella, Hantavirus, etc., which they transmit by touching your food items or urinating on them.
Deckings make great hideouts/nesting grounds for rats (and other rodents) because it is dark, provide food and shelter, and are also not easily accessible to humans.
In other words, it allows rats to multiply without being disturbed. So, if you want tips on how to get those pests out from under your deck and keep them from coming back, you’re in the right place.
This post will find working tips to permanently eliminate the rats under your deck. Let’s get straight to it.
8 ways to get rid of rats under your deck
Rats, like most rodents, infest deckings for several reasons. Some of these are:
- Closeness to a food source
- Proper condition for a nesting ground
If your decking ticks all the boxes above, the chance of rats under your deck is high.
You can use any of the following methods to get rid of the rats under your deck:
Use rat traps
Rat trapping is one of the most effective ways to get rid of rats under your deck. You have several options when it comes to rat traps. You can use snap traps, live traps, etc. Please do not use glue traps.
Here are some tips on using rat traps effectively;
Use many rat traps; you should deploy as many traps as you need to cover the entire decking area.
Place the traps in hotspot zones, i.e., places where rat activity is high. For example, you can place the rat trap along fences, walls, or places where you often see rat droppings to allow for more effectiveness.
And when the traps kill rats, do not handle the dead rats with your bare hands. In the case of live traps, ensure to release the rats far away from your house.
What would I do? I would use live catch rat traps to get rid of rats under deck areas. Why? Because using snap traps or poison will impact other wildlife. You don’t want to catch your neighbor’s cat in a snap trap, right?
Rat poison or rodenticides
Rodenticides are effective and easy-to-use when controlling rat infestations. Rodenticides have many advantages: they’re easy to use, quick, cost-effective, and sometimes come in bait stations that are safe for pets and children.
However, you need to use it properly to get the best results. Most rodenticides are designed as baits to attract rats. So, all you need to do is to place the bait station under and in your deck surroundings.
Especially in places where you have seen signs of a rat infestation: rat urine smell, rat gnaw marks, rat droppings, and so on. Rodenticides kill rats, so you must dispose of the dead rats properly to avoid possible health hazards.
This method is best-suited for pest control in an enclosed space, making it a good option for deckings. Some homeowners prefer dry ice to rat poison to control rat infestation.
How does dry ice kill rats? Dry ice releases carbon dioxide, which reduces the oxygen available to the rats and eventually kills rats. For effectiveness, you should place the dry ice all around and under your deck, especially where you often see rats.
Caution: You should always adhere to safety precautions when using dry ice because it damages the skin. You should also take precautions to prevent carbon dioxide from entering your house.
And as with other methods of killing rats, proper disposal of the dead rats is essential.
Install rat barriers
Most decks are usually open and, consequently, easily accessible to rats. This is why trapping and killing the rats (or other animals) under your decks may not be enough. You need ways to completely keep them out of your deck, i.e., make it rat-proof.
So, how do you ensure that rats, or any other rodent, won’t find their way back under your deck? One way is to install rat barriers or rat walls around your decking.
To build a rat barrier, you can use a chicken mesh. First, you need to attach it to the bottom of your deck, then let the mesh descend into the ground for about a foot before turning it away from the deck.
This installation prevents rats, mice, raccoons, opossums, groundhogs, and other burrowing animals from entering your decks again. Thus, preventing a possible rat problem.
Dogs and cats are known to attack rats, and rats tend to move out of a place if they find signs of a predator’s presence. So, you can consider getting yourself a cat or dog (if you don’t already have one) to ward rats away from your surroundings (and your decking).
This method works best if your dogs or cats invade the rat’s hideouts or come close. Then, the rats pick up on their presence and flee to avoid being killed. But what do you do if your cats and dogs aren’t as eager as you are to get rid of the pests under your deck?
It’s simple; you stimulate a predator’s presence for the rats.
Here’s how: you can place cat urine or droppings around the deck area. Since rats have a great sense of smell, they’ll assume predators are around and distance themselves from that region.
Remove every food source.
This one is very important. Rats have three primary needs; food, water, and shelter. In most cases, water and shelter are guaranteed around your decks. And making food available to them is like sending an open invitation to rats.
Do not place garbage cans close to your decking because rats often find food in the garbage. Another way is to ensure no leftovers are left behind on the deck when you host a deck party. If you have bird feeders, endeavor to keep them far away from your deck.
These are potential food sources for rats, and they won’t hesitate to infest your deck in pursuit of food.
Use bright lights
Like many other nocturnal pests, rats love it dark and avoid well-lit areas. So, another way to deter rats from infesting your decks is by installing bright lights under your deck. In addition to decks, bright lights may be useful to deter rats from other dark places like crawl spaces.
Besides hurting their eyes, bright lights expose rats, making the area less comfortable. However, this method is effective if you always keep the lights on. Else, they’ll just move in again once the lights go off.
Pepper is an effective and natural rat repellent. You can either plant pepper in the area surrounding the deck or make a repellent spray by soaking chopped pepper in white vinegar. Then, use the spray under and around your deckings.
Pepper generally creates a burning sensation that irritates rats. Sometimes, sprinkling dried or powdered cayenne pepper can make your deck a no-go area for rats and other pests. So whether you’re using pepper spray, powder, or plants, always use it on rat holes, burrows, paths, and all over the deck.
That’s it, then. You can use one or a combination of any of the methods above to get rid of rats under your deck. But, of course, it would help if you also paid attention to deterring them.
Besides pepper, you can use other natural rat repellents like peppermint oil, clove oil, and black pepper.
Most importantly, you need to evacuate their nests from under your deck. That is, all the baby rats, wild rats, and their nesting materials must be removed.
If this proves too much for you to handle, or you don’t want to stress yourself, then you can contact professional pest control. They’d know how to get the rats out once and for all.