Rats not only pose health risks but are destructive in nature. To survive, they dig holes or furrows in the ground to hide, nest, and gain entry to your home to look for food. If left uncontrolled, their presence can be an enormous hazard for you and your home. But how do I get rid of rat holes in my yard?
Get rid of any food sources in the yard and flood the holes with water before blocking/sealing them. You can also use natural methods like buying a cat or making natural rat repellent with Peppermint and powdered pepper, human hair, an owl feather, and using powerful bright lights on the yard.
While you may be looking to hire a rat control professional to get rid of them, it’s best to try out DIY methods first. Here’s how:
Do rats dig holes in yards?
Like your house has a point of entry and exit, so does a rat’s furrow. Rats have sharp teeth and claws, allowing them to dig holes in a matter of days. Since they prefer to nest in quiet areas, identifying if the hole is a rat’s doing or any other animal can be challenging. If the hole measures less than two inches in diameter, then an insect or bird could be the culprit.
What do rat holes look like?
Many animals like to dig up holes in lawns and yards, but the only distinctive features of rat holes are the sizes and what lays on top of them. A rat hole measures around two to four inches in diameter. If it measures up to 4 inches in diameter, then mature rats are thriving in that furrow. During your rat home inspection, you’ll likely notice an enormous amount of loose soil outside the hole. This happens as a result of the rodent kicking out the soil as it digs deeper underground.
Typically, rats are purely nocturnal and love their privacy. They prefer leaving their holes at night to look for food. Therefore, if you notice rat droppings or drag and gnaw marks anywhere near the holes during the day, wait for nightfall to monitor their movements. Once you spot them entering and exiting their holes, come up with a suitable rat control plan.
How to get rid of rat holes in the Yard
When conducting an inspection for rat holes, the first thing to do is figure out which rodent is responsible and the severity of the problem. The DIY techniques for rat control are many, but not all of them may work. Outdoor rats don’t just rely on leftover foods in trashcans or bins. Instead, they can eat plants to survive, particularly if you’ve planted vegetables like brussels sprouts in containers or fruits in your yard.
Availability of food options like in composting bins makes it easier for them to dig holes to shelter underground in your garden.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help rid of rat holes in your yard:
1. Inspect your yard for places where rats may find food
Rats are incapable of traveling more than 150 feet of their burrows to look for food. Digging up the hole in your yard gives them easier access to food in your home without traveling for miles. Once you notice bite marks on fruits or vegetables in your garden, or any other action signifying their presence, it’s easy to figure out how to get rid of their holes without worrying if they’ll come back.
2. Flood out the hole with water
When getting rid of rat holes, it’s vital to choose humane methods, provided you do it correctly. Using your hosepipe, apply water into the holes for around two hours. This method is effective because pressurized water signals the rats to use their exit routes to run away, and not think of returning.
The best time to flush out rat holes is in early spring or late winter when they are about to reproduce. While this solution may be effective, you may want to take extra measures to ensure they don’t dig new holes in your yard in the future.
3. Apply rat repellents on the rims and insides of holes
One way to end the rat menace is to apply poison. However, this option may pose health risks for you, your pets, and small children. Since your safety is your top priority, it’s advisable to go for non-toxic solutions like:
- Peppermint and powdered pepper
Rats are allergic to peppermint and spicy powdered pepper. This method works by dubbing cotton wool with peppermint oil and placing it near the rim of their holes. You can also pour the pepper around and even inside the holes to repel them. The powerful smell receptors that rats have will signal them to take off.
This method will not only compel nesting rodents to flee but also help keep a large rat infestation at bay. The primary goal of using this method is to prevent toxic substances from damaging your grass, plants, vegetables, and fruits in your garden. So, even if you apply them on their outer leaves or stem, their growing conditions won’t be compromised.
- Use human hair
Rats love their privacy. The presence of human hair near their holes is enough to drive them away. So, you can clip a few strands of your hair and drop them in infested areas.
- Use an owl’s feather
Because owls like to prey on rats, placing their feathers in infested areas can help keep rats away.
- Brighten up your lawn with powerful garden lights
Since rats are active at night, applying powerful garden lights can help scare them away.
4. Seal the holes
Rats are intelligent creatures who can dig up new holes even if you’ve already filled up the previous one. So, when sealing the holes, ensure you apply the following measures to prevent them from digging new holes:
- Remove pet feces off the ground as they attract rats.
- Place leftover pet food in an airtight container, not an open bowl.
- Seal the holes with cement and soil
- Use a wire mesh to cover the holes
5. Consider natural rat control methods like adopting a cat
Like owls, cats are excellent rat predators. Even if they don’t feed on them, their presence alone is enough to send rats away. So, keeping a cat as a pet is one of the most effective rat control solutions after sealing rat holes.
Can I put rat poison down a rat hole?
While rat poison may effectively keep rats at bay, you can never be sure if you and your household will be safe if a mishap occurs. For example, when a rat eats up the poison, chances are the chemical may get stuck on its forelegs, hind legs, and the rest of its body. As it drags itself through your lawn or yard, the toxic substance may get smeared on your lawn. This poses a health risk for everyone including your children and pets, even if you apply the poison in hard-to-reach areas.
Rat poison also contains toxic chemicals that can alter the soil’s pH. These toxic substances eventually find their way to your plant’s root system, making them vulnerable to damage. It might take months or years to realize how much damage the poison has created.
Remember, using poison will kill the rats, but the damage it causes to your plants is irreversible. Your plants need protection from harmful chemicals as well. Even if you’ve tried DIY rat control methods and your efforts have seemed futile, applying poison should be the last resort under the supervision of a rat control expert. The bottom line of controlling rats is to use substances that won’t affect other living things in your yard.