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Experts have outlined some simple tricks to keep vermin out of your gardens for good, without needing to put down poison or lay rat traps.

The skin-crawling disease carriers are a very unwelcome pest at the home and in gardens across Ireland.

According to the World Health Organisation, rats are already responsible for causing more than 400million infections in people every year and the problems only seem to keep growing.

So any advice to get rid of them should you have an issue will be warmly received.

You could be unaware of the vermin infestation given the fact they are nocturnal creatures.

If you’ve caught a glimpse of the pests sneaking around at dusk or simply want to get ahead of the problem, you may want to go the natural route.

Even if you have the urge to run to the shops for rat poison, a natural fix may be the best step forward, given that gardens are home to pets and other creatures. Fortunately, the gardening experts at Primrose have shared some natural solutions,

The most common way to get rid of rats from gardens with poison, but it’s a toxic route and may pose danger to wildlife, pets and even humans.

The experts at Primrose explained to the Express: “Both merely get rid of them. If you want an effective, sustainable and natural way to deter rats, prevention is the best answer to deter rats naturally.”

First off, there are three tell-tale signs to spot if rats have been taking shelter in the garden.

The first are runs and tunnels against garden walls and fences, the second being rat droppings and the third gnawed wood.

Here’s how to help deal with the problem without risking hurting other animals.

1. Remove food sources

Rats are an unwelcome sight in any garden (Image: Getty Images)

Gardeners will want to make their gardens as unattractive to rats as possible. Rats head where they can find food, and unfortunately for composters, the free food is irresistible to the vermin.

The experts warned: “Compost bins are a treasure trove to rats so ensure your compost bin is secure and move it away from possible routes of access, such as fences and walls.”

Rats can take advantage of gardeners who put up bird feeders for more welcome creatures. These seeds and nuts are a draw for the pests, but you don’t have to take down bird feeders for good. The gardening pros recommended buying a squirrel-proof bird feeder to “block off” rats. Additionally, using no-mess seed mix will ensure there is no discarded food left on the floor that may attract rats.

Gardeners should also ensure they collect fallen fruit from any fruit trees soon after it falls, otherwise rats may start to feast on the harvest. After collecting them, store them somewhere secure where rats will not be able to access them.

2. Block off any forms of shelter

Rats looking to take shelter may find it underneath garden buildings and decking. It’s recommended gardeners block off the narrowest of entry ways to existing structures.

However, before doing this, the experts urge to check for any rats living underneath the structure that is getting blocked off as “they will die an unpleasant death”.

Households should also have a general clear up in their garden, getting rid of any debris and cutting back overgrown vegetation. This will provide rats with less cover – even keeping the grass short will help.

Take this opportunity to move things around in the garden. The pros explained: “Rats are neophobic, and this disruption of their territory will confuse them and encourage them to make home elsewhere.”

3. Natural deterrents

Essential oils

Rats have one of the best senses of smell in the animal kingdom, trumping that of dogs, according to the experts.

They claimed: “When used in concentration, essential oils can do wonders in deterring rats from your garden due to their potency. Peppermint oil, citronella and eucalyptus essential oils in their pure form are all smells that rats will dislike.

“A few drops of these oils in their pure form around the areas you know the rats have been should do the trick.”

Alternatively, soak cotton wool in essential oil and place in rat traffic areas.

Hot pepper

Similarly to essential oils, the experts said: “Rats’ high sense of smell means they can’t stand hot pepper or anything very spicy like it.”

To make homemade natural rat repellent spray, start by mixing cayenne pepper or chilli flakes with water. Heat the mixture vigorously to infuse the chilli, then allow to cool. The longer the solution is left, the more potent the chilli will be.

For those who have used chilli flakes, sieve them out. Add a little castile soap (which is biodegradable) and pour it into a spray bottle. Finnish by applying the spray liberally to areas where there is evidence of rats.

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