A guide to creating and maintaining a pest-free garden

Kiran Singh

If you’re proud of your home, the last thing you want is a pest invasion. Pests cause huge headaches for homeowners all over the UK — in London, more than 100 rodent complaints are made every day! However, a few quick and simple preparations can stop potential pests from calling your garden home.

Here, you have a guide to safeguarding your decked areas and garden from a range of unwanted animals. Browse our tips for handy advice…

Work to ‘put off’ your pests

The best way to start protecting your garden is by making sure you avoid anything that will attract rodents, birds and other pests. Leftovers and rubbish are a pest’s main attraction — make sure rubbish and refuse bags are tied tightly and placed inside a bin with the lid shut! If you have a get-together on your decking, make sure you thoroughly clear up and clean the decking so that no sauces or dropped food remain which could entice rodents and other critters. 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.

Protect your wooded areas

What if your problem isn’t with rats, mice or birds? Woodworm is also a big pest issue 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.

Unless you have composite decking boards, the longevity and quality of your wooded spaces is decreased by moisture. So, you need to protect them from rain. 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 creates a barrier that prevents female wood-boring beetles from laying eggs in the pores of the wood.

But how do you spot a woodworm infestation? Discovering the problem early is key to treating it properly and cheaply. If you can see small holes across your decking and furnishings — these are usually in a cluster and often about 1mm wide — there might be woodworm present. 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.

Use humane traps to tackle your pest issue

Some people might prefer to use non-lethal traps to handle a pest invasion. If this is you, why not also try a scent repellant? Rodents detest the smell of garlic, peppermint and hot spices, which means that planting a peppermint tree around the edges of your decking or sprinkling cayenne around potential entry points can 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.

If you choose to use non-lethal traps instead, make sure to use a sweet treat work to lure mice instead of cheese. 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.

Build a fort around your decking

Make your garden a fortress if you want to get a handle on pests before they become a problem. Pests won’t be able to make a home under your decked areas if they can’t enter to begin with, so investing in extra materials to create a barrier is worth it.

Apart from food, many rodents are searching for a source of shelter. Therefore, your large decked area with a gap underneath is ideal. To make your decking less inviting, 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.

Head outside and look around your garden — can you spot anywhere else that a rat or mouse might want to call home? Hedgerows and bushes are great for bearing the brunt of a storm and hiding small animals from predators. Trim these as far back as possible to decrease the range of shelter for potential pests, and make sure any grassy areas are cut regularly. 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.

There are plenty of non-lethal traps, equipment and other garden-protecting items online to help you safeguard your garden from pests in 2018.

Sources:

http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/15700482.Pest_authority_wants_greater_emphasis_on_tackling_rat_issues/
https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/08/messy-bird-droppings-ruffling-womans-feathers/
http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/woodworm.htm
https://dengarden.com/pest-control/5-Simple-Ways-to-get-rid-of-Mice-without-Killing-Them
https://www.rentokil.co.uk/blog/rodent-proof-decking/#.WkuPjN9l-Uk
https://www.westernpest.com/pest-control/tips/decks/

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