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The space beneath the decking often goes unnoticed by homeowners, yet it provides an ideal refuge for rats. If these rodents establish their habitat there, there’s a high likelihood they’ll find a pathway into your home too. As unwelcome guests, it becomes necessary to implement rat-proofing measures to eradicate them before they inflict substantial harm to the decking’s integrity. First, you need to know the signs of rats under decking to determine what measures to apply to remove them.

Signs of Rats Under Decking

Signs of Rats Under Decking

Rats are primarily nocturnal creatures, meaning they are most active during the night. Consequently, it’s unlikely to spot them scurrying under your decking during the daytime. Nonetheless, several indicators can raise your awareness of the presence of rats inhabiting the space beneath your decking. Below are the signs of rats under decking to look for:

1. You Saw Rat Droppings

Rats under your decking can be easily detected by the abundance of their droppings, with up to 40 droppings being produced daily.

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Rat droppings, resembling sausage-shaped grains of rice measuring half an inch to three-quarters of an inch, can be found scattered around, often accompanied by an ammonia odor from their urine, indicating their presence in the vicinity.

2. Underground Burrows

Rats prefer the safety of subterranean environments to evade predators and human activity, leading them to create underground burrows and tunnels; keep an eye out for holes measuring two to four inches, as their presence may indicate the presence of unwelcome rodents.

3. Signs of Gnawing and Rubbing

Rats have elongated front teeth that continuously grow, prompting them to gnaw on hard objects to maintain their teeth’s sharpness – the teeth never stop growing! – Michigan State University Pesticide Education.

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Also, rats engage in body rubbing against surfaces, depositing accumulated dirt and grease from their bodies. Hence, the presence of rats beneath your decking increases the likelihood of encountering gnaw and rub marks on the wooden posts and planks.

4. Rodent Nests

Rats, like many other animals, construct nests using various materials such as fabric, cardboard, and more, in order to establish a cozy dwelling. If you come across a bundled collection of such materials resembling a nest, they could be signs of rats under decking requiring attention.

How Do I Get Rid of Rats Under My Deck?

How do I get rid of rats under my deck

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Having discovered the signs of rats under decking, you need to know how to remove them. There are several methods to eliminate and prevent rats from residing under your deck. Follow these methods to set up rat-proofing measures and make your decking unappealing to rats.

1. Dispose of Leftover Foods

Rats are irresistibly drawn to locations where they can reliably locate food sources, as sustenance is crucial for their survival. You can prevent the attraction of rats by disposing of any remaining food on the deck. Remove any food scraps that may have fallen onto the ground and keep garbage cans away from the deck. The idea is to expel rats by starving them.

2. Get Rid of Water Sources

Like food, rats require water to survive and will seek out sources where they can quench their thirst. You want to address any issues with damaged faucets or pipes to prevent water leakage.

Moreover, avoid having a completely level decking, as it can lead to rainwater accumulating on the surface, providing an additional water source for rats.

If you have outdoor pet water bowls, make sure to store them overnight. Similarly, if your garden features a water source such as a waterfall, it is recommended to remove it from the area.

3. Keep Your Yard/Garden Clean and Tidy

Rats are typically drawn to areas that are covered, shaded, and overgrown, as these conditions offer them shelter and hiding spots. The more unclean an area is, the greater the likelihood of attracting rats. Minimize the presence of rats by maintaining well-trimmed bushes and regularly mowing the lawn to prevent excessive overgrowth. Additionally, elevating piles of wood off the ground can serve as a deterrent for rats.

4. Build a Rat Barrier

Rats are attracted to residing beneath your decking due to its convenient accessibility, shaded environment, and darkness. You want to prevent the entry of these critters by sealing off your decking area to deny them access.

You could use chicken wire as a reliable choice since rats typically do not gnaw through it. If you’re worried about the appearance, you can place potted plants in front of the chicken wire as a decorative solution.

5. Consider Getting a Cat

Rats can remarkably sense the presence of predators in their nearby environment. Consequently, when they detect the scent of a predator, they instinctively steer clear of that area. Hence, if you wish to discourage rats from being attracted to your decking, it might be worth considering the addition of a cat as a deterrent.

Make sure that your cat has received the necessary rabies vaccination to prevent any potential infection in case of a rat bite. Dogs can also be excellent at scaring away rats.

Should You Use Rat Poison for Under Decking?

When dealing with a significant rat infestation under the decking, rat poison emerges can be the most effective removal method. Nevertheless, concerns arise about its suitability for outdoor usage.

Be cautious when using rat poison to eliminate rats under your decking. Accidental ingestion by children or pets can lead to unintentional poisoning. You also want to be careful to prevent non-target wildlife from eating the poison.

Any good tips for using rat poison? Yes, use rodent bait stations to place poisons for rats. Bait stations typically feature small openings that let rats enter while preventing access by children or pets.

Final Thoughts

Once you can tell that you have rats after confirming the signs of rats under decking, take measures to expel them. Otherwise, they will end up causing expensive structural damage, as well as potentially breaking into your home.

Protect your decking and safeguard your home and property from the destructive nature of rats. Rats are invasive pests and can cause significant damage. On your own, ensure proper maintenance and rat prevention measures, such as those outlined above for the longevity of your decking. If you suspect severe infestation, consider inviting your local pest control professional for a permanent solution.

Read alsoCan Rats Chew Through Concrete?

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