Five Rodent Control Tips For The Outdoors

Many guides to pest control focus on keeping the rodents out of your home. While this is important, you can actually take it one step further. If you focus on keeping rodents away from the outside of your home, they won't be around to enter your home, either. To that end, here are five ways to keep rodents away from your gardens and landscaping.

1. Trim the Bushes

When you are short on time, it's tempting to let your bushes and shrubs go without trimming. The branches sweeping against the ground and creating large canopies make for some perfect rodent hiding places. Make sure you trim back your bushes every early spring before the buds appear. Do the same again in the late spring after the flowers have bloomed. If there are bushes planted too close to your fence or building, pay special attention to the branches in the back. You do not want the branches creating shelter for rodents directly against your structures.

2. Choose a Well-Sealed Garbage

Garbage attracts rodents like nothing else! Larger rodents, like rats and squirrels, may even be able to get a loose lid off the top of a garbage can and gain access to whatever is inside. So, make sure you choose a garbage can with a tightly sealed lid. As a short-term solution, you can place a brick or large rock on top of the can to keep the lid in place. 

Make sure you also keep the garbage can clean -- inside and out. Keep trash in bags to keep the trash can itself tidy, and hose it out every couple of months for good measure.

3. Put Netting Over Your Tomatoes

Rodents enjoy a lot of garden produce, but tomatoes are especially appealing since they give off a scent as soon as they are ripe. To protect your tomatoes and avoid having rats move into your garden, cover your tomatoes with garden netting. You'll have to remove and replace the netting each time you want to pick tomatoes, but at least you will have tomatoes to pick.

4. Rake up Leaves

Piles of leaves can become a harboring point for rodents. Some homeowners are beginning to leave leaves in place as a way to naturally fertilize their yards and gardens. But this is really trading one problem for another -- you're nourishing the lawn and giving the rodents a place to nest! Rake up your leaves in the fall, and do it again in the spring. Make sure you're especially thorough along the fence, porch, and sides of the building.

5. Clean Your Gutters

Blocked gutters can attract rodents in a few different ways. First, the wet leaves and debris in the gutters themselves can attract rats, which are more than capable of climbing up onto a roof. Second, the clogged gutters can cause water to pour down the side of the home, moistening the landscaping. Wet landscaping is easier for rodents to dig through.

Clean your gutters at least twice per year -- once in the spring and once in the fall. If you place gutter guards over the gutters, they won't accumulate debris as quickly. However, you should still check them every so often since the small debris can fall through and into the gutters. 

If you follow the advice above, you should have fewer rodents in your yard, which should mean you also have fewer in your home. If you do notice any rats, mice, squirrels, or other pests, make sure you call the pest and rodent control company promptly. It's easier to exterminate a few of them than a whole horde!