Summer should be spent enjoying the garden — but what happens when you have an infestation of pests?

Did you know that, in London, more than 100 rodent complaints are made every day? Although this is just one city, pests are still an issue for many homeowners. To help keep your garden pest-free, Arbordeck, suppliers of decking boards, has presented this guide on how to keep rats, mice and other critters far from our gardens.

Make your garden unappealing

We all want our gardens to look nice — but making it appealing to a pest is a big mistake. Pests, such as rats and mice, will scout out places before deciding on where to settle down, so try and make your decking as uninhabitable as possible.

Food attracts rodents, so make sure you properly clear and scrub clean your decking and patio after eating outside. 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 put it away from your decking.

Long grass and shrubbery make great abodes for home-hunting animals, so trim these right back and keep them neat. If your main pest problem is birds, movement is a great deterrent. Try hanging something that moves — like a wind chime or wind spinner — to help prevent birds from making a mess on your decking.

Close off entry points

Does your garden boast a decked space? If so, this is also a great place for shelter that you need to bear in mind. Pests won’t be able to make a home under your decked areas if they can’t get in to begin with, so investing in extra materials to create a barrier is worth it.

Use wood, mesh or chicken wire and run it along the entire edge of your decking between the boards and the ground, if you want to ensure critters can’t make a home under your decking. 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. Place potted plants or plant flowers around the area to make it look even nicer.

Rats and mice can get through tiny gaps (even half an inch), so ensure your decked is sealed to prevent an infestation.

Seal up

Woodworm and wood decking go hand in hand, unfortunately. Unless you have decking that doesn’t rot, you should take steps to prevent this particularly unpopular garden pest. There are three kinds of woodworm in the UK. The common furniture beetle is usually what people mean when they say ‘woodworm’, but the house longhorn and deathwatch beetles are far more destructive — although thankfully rarer.

The first an easiest step to preventing woodworm in your garden is keeping wooden areas dry. This might be difficult for large decked spaces, but your tables and chairs should be relatively safe under a waterproof cover. Sealing your wood with varnish is a good shout, too. This creates a barrier that prevents female wood-boring beetles from laying eggs in the pores of the wood.

Perhaps you can already see a woodworm infestation? Small holes across your decking and furnishings may mean woodworm — these are usually in a cluster and often about 1mm wide. Although this is treatable, 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.

Catching the problem

Non-lethal traps or scent repellents are great solutions for dealing with a pest problem. Were you aware that rodents hate the smell of hot spices, peppermint and garlic? So, why not place a peppermint tree around the edges of your decking or sprinkle cayenne around potential entry points? Of course, there are also plenty of commercial rat and mice repellents you can buy that will work to keep pests at bay.

Forget cheese in your rodent traps, sweet foods are far better at luring critters like mice. Place these around your decking and 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.

Following these quick tips can help ensure that your garden is a pest-free environment!