If you’re a garden lover or just like being outside as much as possible, having a pest problem can really put a dampener on your time spent outdoors. Did you know that in London, more than 100 rodent complaints are made every day? So, although you might not think you’re at risk, it’s worth making a few quick and simple preparations to stop potential pests from making your garden their homes.
Check out how to safeguard your garden using our quick and easy tips…
Protect your wood from woodworm
Unless you have composite decking boards, there’s a chance the wood used to make your decking and furniture will rot due to weather and age. However, this could also mean that it is susceptible to woodworm. In the UK, there are three major kinds of woodworm to watch out for, the common furniture beetle, the house longhorn, and the deathwatch beetle. Keeping wood dry is essential to lowering the chance it will be infested with woodworm. This might be difficult for large areas like your decking, but your tables and chairs should be relatively safe under a waterproof cover. Sealing your wood with varnish is a good shout too. This helps to create a barrier that prevents female wood-boring beetles from laying eggs into the pores of the wood.
If you suspect your decking already having woodworm? You first need to identify which type of woodworm is doing the damage, so it might be worth seeking professional advice. Common furniture beetle problems can be treated yourself using products that you can buy online. However, if the culprits are house longhorn or deathwatch beetles, you may need to treat by injection.
Make your decking as uninviting as possible to pests
The worst thing you can do is create an outdoor environment that pests want to live in. Rats and mice will scout out places before deciding on where to settle down, so try and make your decking as uninhabitable as possible. Leftover food is a beacon for unwanted guests, so after every barbecue or outdoor gathering, make sure everything is cleared away and sweep your decking. Make sure rubbish and refuse bags are tied tightly and placed in a outdoor bin with the lid shut. Remember; rats, mice and hedgehogs will also eat birdfeed, so make sure to opt for a birdfeeder that isn’t placed on the floor or a table and keep it away from your decking.
After food, pests are searching for appropriate shelter, which they can find under your decking or in your garden’s foliage. Trim hedges and bushes surrounding your decking as far back as possible to decrease the range of shelter for potential pests, and make sure any grassy areas are cut regularly. For birds, try hanging something that moves, like a wind chime or wind spinner, to help prevent them from making a mess on your decking.
Seal up any gaps in your decking
Another way to make your garden uninhabitable is by ensuring that they can’t set up camp and shield themselves from rain and wind. Pests won’t be able to make a home under your decked areas if they can’t get in, so investing in extra materials to create a barrier is worth it.
There are plenty of ways you can block off your decked areas. A good method is to use wood, mesh or chicken wire and run it along the entire edge of your decking between the boards and the ground. If you’re worried that this will ruin your decking’s aesthetic appeal, you can install a wooden trellis and have the mesh running behind it. Then, arrange potted plants or flowerbeds around your decking to mask the mesh further.
Just make sure whatever material you use is strong, sturdy and well installed — rats and mice can get through even the tiniest of gaps.
How to trap pests humanely
Some people don’t like using traps, however, these don’t have to be lethal and there are a variety of humane traps available. For example; scent repellents. Rodents despise the smell of garlic, peppermint and hot spices. Plant a peppermint tree around the edges of your decking or sprinkle cayenne around potential entry points to deter vermin from nesting. Of course, there are also plenty of commercial rat and mice repellents you can buy that will work to keep pests at bay.
Another route you can take is placing non-lethal traps in your garden. However, instead of using cheese, put down sweet treats as bait to lure mice and place these traps around your decking. Once caught, make sure to release the rodent at least one mile from your home once caught. If you prefer, buy an ultrasonic pest repellent. Compact and discreet, these devices are ideal for placing by your decking and emit high-frequency sound waves that rodents can’t stand — and we can’t hear.
Pest-proofing your decking isn’t always simple. However, it is achievable and there are a range of products you can buy online to help you.