Your garden space becomes less enjoyable when pests start to invade, so it’s crucial to keep on top of pest control.
The colder months will make your space more attractive to pests; as they look for shelter. In London, more than 100 rodent complaints are made every day. Although this doesn’t mean that you’re at risk, it’s worth making a few quick and simple preparations to stop potential pests from making your garden their homes.
Dishearten the pests
Remove all aspects of your garden that make it a haven for annoying pests. 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.
Leftover food is notorious for attracting pests, so make sure you remove all rubbish from your space. 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.
Remember to trim your bushes to remove any desirable shelter. 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.
Block off the space
Now it’s time to block off your decking. 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.
Because of harsh weather conditions, beneath your decking becomes a great hub for pests. To stop this happening, 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.
Seal the space
If you have wooden decking, this will attract woodworm. Unless you have composite decking that doesn’t rot, you might want to take steps to prevent this particularly unpopular garden pest. 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.
To prevent woodworm in your decking and outdoor furniture, try to keep the wood dry. 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.
Have you experienced invasion already? 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.
Trap the pests
If you have one pest, the likeness of more arriving to your garden is high. If you already have pests in the garden and need help getting rid of them, you could consider using non-lethal traps or scent repellents.
Have you tried frightening them with strong 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.
What about non-lethal traps? But forget cheese; sweet treats work best to lure 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.
This article was researched by Arbordeck, composite decking boards provider.