As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure when it comes to dealing with rats. The number of changes you decide to make, however, largely comes down to your personal preferences. Ultimately, even if all of the recommended changes are made, it is impossible to absolutely guarantee that you will never experience another rat problem. Making these changes will significantly reduce your chances of having rat problems, however.

There are many different factors that could be attracting rats to your property. In some cases, there are factors you won’t be able to change, but by staying in control of what you can control, you can reduce the chances of a rat infestation.

Where are Rats Most Likely to be Active?

Rats are surprisingly elusive little creatures that will usually try to remain out of sight as much as possible. Thus most people will only see signs of rats’ presence and activity, rarely spotting the animals themselves.

One of the main factors that will attract rats to a property is the availability of food. This means that garbage storage and outbuildings where pet food or food stores are kept can be a risk factor. Gardens can also sometimes attract rats, especially when the food being grown can be easily accessed.

Another factor that will attract rats is the presence of shelter, which provides darkness and warmth as well as a good place to nest. This also means that areas such as attic spaces, wall cavities, garages and outbuildings are areas where rat activity is likely to be active.

Keeping Rats Away From Garbage

One of the biggest problems that can attract rats to a property is garbage. Like many animals, rats will use their nose to follow the scent of a potential morsel of food to the source of the scent. This means that if garbage is stored openly in black bags that are kept outdoors, or in an open dumpster, the smell can often be picked up by rats from some distance away. 

Ideally, it is best to keep your garbage bags indoors until collection day, as this will help reduce the spread of the scent. Also, whether indoors or outdoors, keeping garbage in a can or dumpster with a heavy lid will also help reduce the spread of the scent that attracts rats to the area. The lid will also act to prevent the rats from getting to the food if they do find it. 

Keeping Rats Away From the Garden

As it is one of the more open parts of any property, keeping rats out of your garden can be even more challenging than getting them out of the house. However, there are still important measures you can implement.

Make sure the plants you are growing in the garden don’t become food for rats. Protect ground-level plants with a mesh cap. If you are growing in a greenhouse, ensure the door of the greenhouse closes tight.

If you have fruit trees, one of the biggest things that may attract rats is fallen fruit being left on the ground. Fallen fruit can decay, producing a smell that will attract rats. Ensure that fallen fruit is picked up, used, or disposed of in a way that keeps the scent under control.

Keeping Rats Away From the Garage and Car

Keeping rats away from your car is important, as they can cause a significant amount of problems. If they gain access to a vehicle, they may, from time to time, climb up into the engine bay to gain warmth. To prevent this, try to avoid parking your car too close to areas of shrubbery, which could offer cover for the rats. You may also want to consider trimming these types of plants that are present around your parking area. 

When it comes to keeping rats away from the garage, try to eliminate any narrow gaps or dark spaces, such as behind large shelving units. You may want to try using wall-mounted shelves instead. Also, if you keep garbage or store pet food in these areas, keep them in sealed containers so the scent doesn’t escape.

Keeping Rats Away From the Yard

Depending on how you use and decorate your yard with plants or other items, it can become a potential nesting spot for rats. Although rats can find a way in to many places, they will generally avoid large open spaces. Having a lot of shrubbery close together is more likely to attract rats than lawns or areas with decorative trees instead. If you do like to relax and have a barbecue in the yard, make sure all food fragments are cleaned up afterwards, and any grids used for cooking are washed to remove fat that might still attract pest animals such as rats.

Will Prevention Always Be Effective at Keeping Rats Away?

Rats are persistent animals that can be particularly difficult to keep away. While the steps mentioned above can reduce the chances of a rat infestation, they will not always be successful. If you do see or hear any signs of rat activity in or around your property, it is important to take action promptly, as rat populations increase quickly. Always make sure to wear protective gear before starting any rat removal work, or consider hiring a professional to do the job.