Rat problem

I have a compost heap at the bottom of my garden which is has started to attract some unwelcome visitors - rats.

I am unsure whether to use a sonic repellent or just lay down some rat traps - does anyone have any experience with either of these prodeucst that have help me to decide what I should use? I really don't want the rats to make it into my house so am very keen to get shot of them!





  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    Are you puttung cooked food into the compost heap? This will attract rats!

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,191

    Rats are ubiquitous and like to nest in compost heaps as it's warm.   We are in teh country so have them in tehgarden and neiighbouring pasture but when it comes to the bird feeders I draw a line and place poisoned bait in hidden spots because I don't like traps. 

    The one I use is Toxa Overdose - sachets of blue stained grains that kill and then dessicate the corpse so there is no smell.  I use it in winter in the attic when the local mice move in for teh winter and it's very effective.   Works on rats too but you need several sachets at a time.  I put them under rhubarb leaves to keep them dry and away from birds.

    A good DIY or garden centre will have a variety of products and traps.

    The Vendée, France
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 3,485

    What sort of 'heap' is it? Is there any sort of enclosure (wooden pallets, chicken mesh, plastic 'dalek' type bin)?.

    Personally, I use very large, very heavy duty plastic compost 'makers' which I obtained a few years ago from my local council at an incredible discount. The sides open out completely for ease of emptying and turning. They stand on concrete slabs and the bottoms are lined with a double layer of chicken mesh (top layer slightly offset against the bottom layer to reduce the size of the holes) which extends about 6" up the sides of the bins. These measures seem to provide a barrier to things which can burrow under structures or gnaw their way through wooden ones and I would soon see if anything was trying to gnaw at the bin itself.

    I never put cooked food or anything meaty or dairy based into the bin (see Sue's comments above) and actually put very limited kitchen waste in. Tea bags, coffee grounds, citrus peel and some other vegetable peelings are ok - but even with these I wait until I have about a foot of garden waste in the bottom.

    If you have an unenclosed, dryish compost heap with food in it or near it (eg bird or chicken food) I'm afraid you have a 5 star rat hotel and you will need to take steps. Making the environment as hostile and difficult to infiltrate as possible is much better than then trying to get rid of the rats - they will just keep coming back if they like the accommodation! Prevention is definitely better than cure in this case.

    Meantime I'd get a rat man in!

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 11,108

    Jack Russell. works every time. Rats, squirrels, even possums.

    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447


  • gardeningfanticgardeningfantic Posts: 1,019

    they are a problem.. live near railway line and always about and ruddy large ones too.

    we use bait and air rifle.. take a shot and they dont come back for some time..

    if you have composter then bang it every day as they dont like noise and leave it open to get rained on.. as they dont like it very wet either.

    if you are on benefits you can get the rat trap man to come in and do it for free or for a fiver iimage neighbour had them in few years back and they trapped ours too.. said if you take out a colony it will take 3 years for them to build up again.


  • BluebootsBlueboots Posts: 100

    I saw a rat by the bird feeder a few weeks ago so I put down a live cage trap where we saw it heading (by the dalek compost bins).  I haven't seen it since and the trap wasn't touched till today. It's been set off and all the food has gone but there's no animal inside. I think slugs might have been in there.

    BTW, I'm not sure what I would have done with a live rat, but we had the cage trap from when we were trying to get rid of squirrels in the loft.

    If it comes back I might try the poison under the rhubarb idea. Do you think this might poison the rhubarb if it got wet though?

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,191

    No.  The quantities are far too small.   we're still here anyway and I've been doing this for years now.  When I can see them, I post sachets in the rat tunnels.

    The Vendée, France
  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    Remember that if you trap rats you have to have a method of killing them.  Bait is better, but do make sure it cannot be reached by anything else.  Putting it under rhubarb leaves is not enough.  

    Place rat poison in lengths of down pipe laid on the ground where rats run.  Down the side of a building by a wall is suitable.

  • GillianBCGillianBC Posts: 119

    Just seen one in my garden today.  Just as cute as a squirrel, kept coming our from under the big laurel at the bottom, stealing the bird's sunflower seeds.  Not sure what to do, but I don't like the idea of killing it and I wouldn't want a kestrel or my cat to get hold of a poisoned rat.  On the other hand, I don't want one of my cats bringing a whopping big rat into the house - live or dead.  

  • FruitcakeFruitcake Posts: 810

    My cat is very useful for rat controlimage 

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,098

    You very rarely see a dead rat from poisoning. They take themselves underground.

    Half bury a piece of 2 or 3 inch pipe in the ground, birds wont get in there, put stone or slate loosely over each end just leaving a little gap for the rat. If you look carefully on the ground, you will see their route, they make the same one every night, it will be very smooth where they almost polish it with their bellies. Usually it will be close to the fence or wall, this,  they prefer. Along this track is where you put your pipe, you can put it in a little coffee jar lid or similar, whatever fits in your pipe. Rats are, by nature, very nosey, they will go in out of curiosity and love the bait

    The only poison that works well and very quickly is Neosorexa, they have become immune to most others and the stuff you buy in the hardware shop or similar is no good at all.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • marc weirmarc weir Posts: 124
    Do whatever but dont use breakback traps. I had 3 traps in our garden which caught 10 or so rats but all in one heartbreaking day caught a wood pigeon that was trapped by the wing and a cock blackbird both of which had to be killed. The traps were both hidden away out of sight or so I thought
  • Kate 7Kate 7 Posts: 50

    Just seen a rat in my compost bin this morning, first one after eight years in this house. It kept my two dogs entertained when they realised where it was. I put food out for the birds, both in feeders and on the lawn ( for the blackbirds) so my fault really. Not sure what we are going to do?  I might tolerate it but not sure my neighbours will.

  • marc weirmarc weir Posts: 124
    What dogs have you got. Small terrier type dogs catch rats easily
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,359

    There is never only one rat Kate.  The gestation period is 3 weeks and they have on average 7 offspring, each of which is sexually mature in another 5 weeks..

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • flumpy1flumpy1 Posts: 2,708
    We have finally just got rid of our rats under decking due to feeding birds with fat ball feeder, we had to ring the council and pest control have been visiting and putting rat poison down every two weeks as, its took about two months but it was worth it and free too, i can now get on with my gardening without fear of meeting a rat!
  • I think the dogs could disturb them if not eradicate them. If you are lucky they will move on to your neighbours and it then becomes their probimage But I think you could temporarily stop ground feeding the blackbirds. I have hung an old wicker hanging basket from my feeding station and make homemade fat seed lumps to put inside, now I have blackbirds and robins arguing over the spoils I would never have thought it image

  • marc weirmarc weir Posts: 124
    You would find there is enough spilt seed under the feeders to keep the blackbirds fed. Thats the case with mine. I only feed sunflower hearts and the greenfinches and goldfinches much at the seeds and drop loads of crumbs and the blue tits take one but often reject one and drop it on the floor. My wood pigeon dont come down till the finches do lol
  • Save yourself some money and throw a 5-Gallon Water Bucket trap into your garden.
    These things catch sh** loads of rats and cost almost nothing. 


    Tools needed
    5-Gallon Bucket1/2″ PVC Pipe1/2″ PVC Pipe CapsScrewsDrill BitsCordless Drill Or Corded DrillSome Reese’s peanut butter cups or plain Peanut butter.Building the DIY bucket trap
    1. The First Step is to measure the width of the top of the 5-gallon bucket trap. Minus two inches from your measurement, then mark the new total of your measurement on the PVC pipe.

    2. Cut the PVC pipe to the length of your measurement, then insert the PVC end caps. Ensure that the PVC pipe fits between the sides within the top of 5-gallon bucket trap. There should be a small gap on each side of the PVC pipe so it can spin freely once on its “screw axes”

    3. Now mark a drill point on the center of each PVC Pipe Cap.

    4. Use a drill with a small drill bit to drill a pilot hole into the center marks on the PVC pipe caps.

    5. Now use a Sharpy to mark two drill points straight across from each other on opposite sides of the Bucket trap. These drill points should be located around one inch down from the top rim of the bucket. 

    6. Drill out the marked holes in the bucket with a Drill Bit that is big enough to fit your Screws, but still small enough so that the larger end of the Screw cannot fit through.

    Note this info came from howzak.com's DIY Rat Removal post

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