Rats are a common home invading pest throughout North America, but they can be equally as problematic when they invade your yard. Rats wreak havoc on landscaping, garden sheds, cables and gardens, and are even hazardous to your health and the health of your loved ones and pets.
For this reason, it’s very important to take the proper measures to ensure your home and yard are rat-free, no matter the season. And we are here to help.
Today, we are going to talk about how to get rid of rats in yard areas and keep them from returning. Let’s get started.
What Are The Most Common Rats Found In Yards?
Norway rats are some of the most common species of rats known to invade yards.
There are over 60 species of rats throughout the world, but only two are responsible for invading homes and yards in North America. These rats include the Norway rat and the roof rat.
When looking for how to get rid of rats in yard, remember that the Norway rat is one of the most common rodent pests in North America and is known to invade both homes and yards. Also known as the brown rat or common brown rat, the Norway rat is the largest of the two species of rats known to invade yards and homes in the United States.
It is distinguishable by its large brown and gray body, long tail, and pointed nose.
The roof rat is an invasive species of rat who is common throughout the United States as well as throughout the world. Though smaller than the Norway rat, the roof rat is just as problematic. It is gray with a lighter colored belly and has a long, bald tail.
Roof rats are also prone to invading homes, and commonly enter into houses through openings in the roof or other vulnerabilities. During warmer months, however, the roof rat can and does happily live outdoors and in the yard.
The video below discusses more about the difference between Norway rats and roof rats and will help you in your mission for how to get rid of rats in yard.
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Both the brown rat and the roof rat are common pests in North America, and are known to carry serious diseases including hantavirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, leptospirosis, salmonella, and tularemia.
Rats are also highly destructive, causing damage to building structures and cables, and even posing fire dangers due to excessive chewing through electrical wires as they work to build their nests.
Prolific reproducers, a rat infestation can quickly get out of control, and if it begins in your yard it is more likely to end in your home. While many outside rats are fine during the warmer months in yards and gardens, as soon as the weather turns they often make their way inside, looking for warmth and safety.
So, why have rats chosen your yard to invade? Keep reading to find out.
How To Get Rid of Rats In Yard – Why Do I Have Rats?
Cluttered yards provide ideal hiding places for rats.
When looking for how to get rid of rats in yard areas, it helps to first understand why these critters have chosen your property to invade in the first place. Like most pests, rats are seeking a safe shelter, an abundance of food, and a good place to breed and reproduce.
Both the Norway rat and the roof rat can live easily outdoors when the conditions are ideal, but they often choose to live in areas near people as this means there is usually an abundance of food nearby.
Rats are attracted to yards that:
- Are cluttered
- Have tall grass
- Have food and water sources readily available
- Are lacking predators
- Provide shelter to hide, burrow, and build nests
Depending on where you live, rats can be problematic in your yard all year round. However, and as we mentioned above, in regions where the weather cools down, rats can quickly invade homes and buildings, where they become even more problematic.
With that in mind, let’s go over how to get rid of rats in yard areas before they make their way into your home this winter.
Six Tips For How To Get Rid of Rats In Yard Areas
Clean up leaf litter and clutter to get rid of rats.
Rats are problematic not only because they are prolific reproducers, highly destructive, and seriously unsanitary, but also because they are smart. Natural problem solvers, rats can find creative ways to get into your home, garden shed, garden, into your walls, or onto your roof.
Understanding how to get rid of rats in yard areas is going to take ingenuity on your part, proper planning, and the right tools.
Below are five tips you can use for how to get rid of rats in yards before they become a problem in your home this winter.
How To Get Rid of Rats In Yards:
Step 1 – Remove Clutter
First and foremost for how to get rid of rats in yards, it’s time to remove the clutter. Sometimes, getting rid of rats is as easy as getting rid of their hiding places. Rats do not feel comfortable in open spaces and often choose yards that are full of debris.
Remove large wood piles, dead trees and logs, and other clutter. As you go, keep your eye open for signs of rat activity or nests. Look for rat droppings, chew marks, oily trails where rats have come to and fro, and of course rats themselves.
Keep in mind that rats are nocturnal and are most active at night. For this reason, you are more likely to physically see rats between dawn and dusk.
Step 2 – Remove Any Burrows In Your Yard
When they live in the yard, rats tend to burrow. They build their nests below ground with pathways leading to and from certain food sources. Each nest or burrow includes at least two exit points, designed to offer these intelligent critters a safe escape from predators.
Rat burrows are most commonly found beneath dense foliage or clutter, including shrubs and bushes, wood piles, leaf litter, dead tree limbs or logs, and garden debris. You may be able to locate where a rat’s burrow is located by looking for rat runways leading to these types of areas around your property.
Rat runways are exactly what they sound like – areas in the yard or grass where rats have gone to and from a certain location repeatedly.
Once rats find a safe route to food, shelter and their burrow, they will use this route over and over again, making it easier for you to identify where they are hiding.
Step 3 – Use Traps, Poisons or Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Rats
There are different types of traps and poisons that work well for how to get rid of rats in yards, depending on your needs and preference.
If you prefer the catch and release method, you can place live traps around your yard and bait them with peanut butter. Once you catch the rat, make sure you relocate it at least five miles away from your home so it cannot find it’s way back.
If you would rather use lethal methods for how to get rid of rats in yards but are worried about placing rat poison on your property, we suggest purchasing baited poison rat traps. These traps are often designed to be child and pet safe and are often designed to only allow rats or mice to enter and eat the poison.
Using poisons and other chemical methods for how to get rid of rats in yards can be uncomfortable, but don’t worry. You also have the option of using home remedies to either trap, repel, or poison rats naturally and safely.
We will go over some home remedies and other methods you can use to get rid of current rat problems in your yard further down.
Step 4 – Use Repellents and Preventatives
Once you have figured out how to get rid of rats in yards, it’s time to use repellents and preventative measures to keep them from returning.
There are plenty of products you can purchase that serve as a rodent repellent for outdoors, but there are also things you can do at home that can further prevent future rat activity.
Step 5 – Invite The Predators
Inviting the predators is another excellent way to help get rid of current and future rats and other rodents on your property. We will talk more about the best types of rat predators for how to get rid of rats in yards below.
Step 6 – Reinforce Your Home and Yard Against Future Rats
And for step six, make sure you reinforce your home and yard. Protect your fruit and veggie gardens with rat-proof mesh and reinforce your home to ensure any potential yard rats don’t become home invading pests.
Now, without further ado, let’s talk about the best products available you can use for how to get rid of rats in yards.
Top Five Products For How To Get Rid Of Rats In Yards
Move over, rat traps of old. There are new products for rat removal now.
It is certainly possible for you to learn how to get rid of rats in yards using home remedies and by practicing good habits, but it also helps to have some reinforcements. Luckily, there are lots of options for rat removal both in the home and in the yard, and they can work in conjunction with other methods you choose to use to eliminate your rat problem.
Not sure which products would be best for your situation? We have listed a few different types of traps, baits, poisons, and more below to help you get rid of the rats on your property.
Take a look.
AB Catch and Release Small Rodent Trap
If you’re worried about using poisons and snap traps for how to get rid of rats in yards, you can opt to use a live trap like the catch and release rat trap by AB listed above. This trap is designed specifically for capturing small rodents like rats, mice, chipmunks, voles and squirrels for the purpose of relocating them.
The inside metal is smooth to ensure the rodents do not get hurt once they are trapped, and the handle on top allows for safe transport and relocation on your part. The trap also comes with a single door or double door, and you can order multiple rat traps if needed for how to get rid of rats in yard areas.
ITrap Poison Bait Station Rat Trap
When using poison for how to get rid of rats in yard areas, we recommend using a bait station that is designed to only poison the rats and keep other animals as well as children and pets safe. The above bait station is ideal for indoor and outdoor use and is designed to target rats and mice only.
It does not include the poison bait, however, so you must order that separately.
BARLAS Tunneled Humane Lethal Rat Trap
The traditional snap rat trap has gotten a makeover, and these sleek lethal rat traps by BARLAS are much easier to set and place, and are designed to protect against curious little fingers or sniffing noses. They work for both indoor and outdoor use for rats and mice, and can be ordered in sets of one through four.
The traps include duel entry points and kill rats quickly without the use of dangerous chemicals or poisons. You can place these traps in your yard, garden, and even inside your home.
Rodent Sheriff Pest Control
Along with using traps and other methods for how to get rid of rats in yard areas, we also suggest using a rodent repellent. The above rodent spray is all natural and safe to use around people and pets. It is also ideal for outdoor use as it is safe for the environment.
The spray uses natural ingredients including essential oils to repel rats, mice, ants, spiders, racoons squirrels, chipmunks, voles, and other problematic rodents and insects.
Spray this peppermint spray outside and around the perimeter of your home as directed and repeat the process as necessary.
VANZO Ultrasonic Rodent Repellent
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Last we have these ultrasonic rodent repellent stakes for outdoor rat problems. These stakes are solar powered and emit ultrasonic sound waves and vibrations in the ground to repel rats, voles, snakes, and other pests from coming around your yard.
The vibrations and soundwaves are completely harmless to people and pets, but are highly irritating to rats. That said, they will work best in conjunction with other pest control methods on this list like sprays and traps, as well as the home remedies listed below.
How To Get Rid Of Rats In Yard Using Home Remedies
Rats can be problems in gardens, but you can repel them by companion planting.
Along with using purchased products for how to get rid of rats in yard areas, you can also use homemade pest control methods with household ingredients. While rats are a formidable foe, they are also highly sensitive and can be remedied with a number of pantry and medicine cabinet staples.
You can get rid of rats in the yard by using:
Many people find that essential oils work as a form of natural pest control. The essential oils that work best for how to get rid of rats in yard areas include:
- Lavender Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Rosemary Oil
You can make your own essential oil rat repellent spray by combining 10 to 25 drops of the essential oil of your choice with two cups of water in a spray bottle. Then spray this mixture outside and in any area you suspect rat activity.
Instant potatoes make an easy and safe poison for rats. You can use this method by baiting traps or leaving dry instant potatoes out in a bowl for rats to consume.
The rats will eat the dry instant potatoes, which will then expand in their stomach once they have a drink, killing them.
However, while this is an effective method for how to get rid of rats in yard and garden areas, it will not work on it’s own if you have a large infestation, and other methods above and below will still need to be followed.
Rat Repellent Plants In Your Garden
Rats are ravenous for garden veggies, but you can help repel them by companion planting the below rat-repellent plants in your garden:
- Grape Hyacinth
- Black Pepper
- And Tomatoes
Of course, keep in mind that some of the above plants are toxic to pets if ingested. Do your research before planting in your garden, especially if you have curious dogs or cats in the home.
Hot Pepper Flakes Or Cayenne Pepper
Sprinkle hot pepper flakes or cayenne around your yard and near areas you suspect rat activity. Sprinkle it in burrows, near rat runways, and along the perimeter of your home. This will repel rats without harming them, and is safe for people and pets.
However, keep in mind that cayenne and red pepper flakes can irritate the eyes and nose, so use this method with caution around youngsters, as well as around dogs and cats.
DIY Ammonia and Vinegar Spray Spray
Ammonia and vinegar combined smells very similar to predator urine, which naturally frightens rats away. You can make your own urine mimicking spray using the below ingredients and directions.
- 1 Cup of Ammonia
- 1 Cup of Vinegar
- 1 Spray Bottle
Pour the above solution into a spray bottle and shake the bottle to mix it thoroughly. Then spray it outside anywhere you suspect rat activity. You can spray it along rat runways, beneath wood piles, around shrubs, and more. However, do research before spraying this mixture on garden plants, as the combination of ammonia and vinegar can be harsh and damaging.
Repeat this process every few days. You may also soak cotton balls in the above solution and leave them in areas where you have seen signs of rats as well. Replace these cotton balls every two to three days.
How To Get Rid Of Rats In Yard – When To Call A Professional
If you find you’re continually dealing with rats in your yard, we suggest calling a professional for help.
Sometimes you can get rid of rats in your yard easily on your own, but other times these little critters are just too savvy. If you find you’re struggling with repetitive rats in and around your home, it may be time to contact a professional.
Remember, rats can carry serious infectious diseases and can cause structural and electrical damage to homes and businesses, so their presence is nothing to mess with.
On average, pest control experts typically charge between $100 and $500 for rat removal. Of course, this price can vary depending on your region and the severity of your rat infestation.
Professionals should be able to help you pinpoint the source of your rat problem while also removing the current issue, and then your next step should be working on prevention.
How To Prevent Rats From Returning To Your Yard
Put an owl house near your property to invite the owls while encouraging the rats to leave.
Once you’ve managed to figure out how to get rid of rats in yard areas, your next focus should be on keeping them away for good. There are a few different steps you can take to ensure rats do not become a problem in your yard or home again.
Mowing your lawn consistently
Remember, rats thrive in long, grassy areas where they feel safe and are out of sight of predators. You can reduce rat activity in your yard by ensuring your lawn is consistently mowed and kept short and tidy.
Remove Potential Food Sources
Pick up fallen fruits from fruit trees and harvest ripe veggies from your garden as often as possible. Keep outdoor garbage bins sealed and refrain from tossing foods into your yard like banana peels, old bread, and rotting fruits.
It’s also wise to keep bird food stored in airtight containers in the garage, and don’t leave pet food outside overnight.
Companion Planting Is A Must
Keep up with companion planting in your garden, especially if you are growing vegetables. Doing this will help protect your veggies not only from destructive rats, but also other rodents like mice, chipmunks and squirrels.
Use Rodent-Repelling Mesh
Another way to protect your garden from rats is to use rodent repellent mesh. Most rats will dig their way into your garden, so applying mesh correctly below the surface and up over your garden will help keep it safe and reduce your chances of rats nesting on your property.
Rotate Wood Piles
If you do have wood piles on your property, rotate them often. Try and refrain from letting them sit too long, as rats will often find that these undisturbed woodpiles make excellent nesting ground.
Remove Clutter, Leaf Litter and Debris
Along with rotating wood, remove clutter, leaf litter and debris. This will reduce other potential hiding places and nests for rats who venture onto your property.
Invite The Predators
Cats make excellent rat predators, but if you’re not in the market for a feline friend right now, why not invite some wild predators to your yard? The most common types of natural predators that can help you figure out how to get rid of rats in yards include:
- Birds of prey like hawks and owls.
- And Weasels
Birds of prey are generally the easiest to invite to your yard, not to mention the most welcome in comparison to snakes and weasels. You can invite birds of prey by posting owl boxes and making your home more hospitable to these beautiful creatures.
Keep Up With Routine Home Maintenance
Last but not least, try and keep up with routine home maintenance. This may not be the first step you need to take when working on how to get rid of rats in yards, but it is certainly an important one.
Caulking and sealing any potential entry points into your home will reduce your chances of having those pesky outdoor rats become problematic and dangerous indoor home invaders.
And that’s how to get rid of rats in yard areas. Now it’s your turn. What do you think about rats in the yard and using the above products and remedies to get rid of them? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.