A deck refers to a leveled surface made of either wood, plastic, or plastic-wood composite. Rats find wood a convenient ground to feed and breed on, especially when dry and untreated. We wish to find out whether the same case applies to wooden decks.
So, does wood decking attract rats? Wood decking can attract rats, as these rodents are persistent pests that can live anywhere as long as that place has a favorable temperature and adequate food and water. When these conditions are present, rats may easily invade and destroy a deck, especially if it’s made of softwood. Therefore, to keep off rats and ensure that a decks last longer, using hardwood or treated wood for the deck is recommended.
Rats can be very destructive to your deck if left uncontrolled; thus, to ensure that you keep them at bay, we discuss how you can detect, remove, and prevent them from destroying your deck. Read on as we give you all these details and more.
How Do You Tell if Rats Are Under Decking?
To ward off rats from your deck, you first need to know how to detect them. The following are some common methods you can use to check.
1. Rat Nests
The main clue that rats reside within your deck is their nests’ presence; these nests can be twigs, plant leaves, or cotton. Once you spot these under your deck, you can tell that most likely there are rats present. However, identifying whether rats are nesting under your deck may not be easy since most of their activities are at night. Moreover, it is easy for them to invade your deck if it is above the ground. Similarly, they may also use underground porches and rock debris as their residence.
2. Gnaw Marks and Damages
Rats’ teeth grow very fast, so, to maintain their normal length, they tend to bite on materials to trim them. Therefore, you can examine your deck for gnaw marks; their presence can confirm that you have rats. By continuously gnawing on the wood, rats may seriously damage your deck. For instance, they may chew on the electrical cables that transmit electricity to your deck. The rats can also eat through your deck to create nests or secure materials to build a nest. Once you see such damages, it may be time to start planning how to eradicate them.
3. Sights and Sounds
Rats are mostly active at night; however, you can still see and hear them during the day, especially if you are in a room near the deck. By observing the activities under the structure, you can easily recognize their invasion. It may help to watch out for any squeaking, screeching, and scratching. Similarly, you can easily spot them scamper around the deck area. Note that it is important to always check for their nests; this way, you can prevent further breeding.
4. Rat Droppings
This, among other signs, indicates that rats reside under your deck. It is possible to find the droppings under or above the deck. You may notice the droppings normally concentrate in one place. They are dark brown and tapered at the end, similar to a spindle or a large rice cereal.
5. Smear Marks and Rat Footprints
Usually, it is dirty under the deck since there are no activities there, so you may go for long without checking or cleaning it. There are clearly rats present if you light up underneath the deck and find rats’ footmarks or tail prints. If you don’t have a light bulb to use, you can use a torchlight instead. Just lower the light source at a favorable angle to allow you to see clearly.
However, if the prints are not clear enough to confirm your hunch, you can sprinkle fine flour where you think could be invaded and then let it stay overnight. This way, it would be easier to spot any fresh marks.
Also, rats tend to squeeze their way out through small paths. Therefore, their repeated movements will leave smear traces on the nearby objects. If you spot dark marks on or under your deck, there is a possibility of rodent infestation. However, this may not be an active indicator since smear marks can last for decades, even in rats’ absence.
How Do You Deal With Rats Under Decking?
As soon as you confirm rat presence under your deck, it is best to start the process of eliminating the infestation hastily. This way, you may stop more breeding and feeding before it gets out of hand.
1. Electric Devices
You can use some devices that emit electromagnetic waves to repel rodents. You can install these devices under your deck to scare away residing rats and even those who may be coming to live below the deck.
Sonic and ultrasonic devices are a better option to drive them away from your compound. The sound these devices produce irritates the rats; hence, they cannot stay once you install this repellant; these devices are mostly inaudible to humans, so you need not worry that they will irritate the surrounding people.
Rats tend to be very sly; hence, you may not catch them immediately after setting up traps. It would help if you were patient with this method since it may take some days or even a week to work.
You can always keep checking to see whether it is successful. A trap is more effective in dealing with rats since it will catch the rats alive, so you won’t have to bear with the dead rat stink, which may easily infiltrate your house.
3. Rat Poison
Rat poisoning is a prevalent method of rat eradication, given that it is very effective. It would be best if you put the poison wherever you suspect to find them. However, you should be careful since the poison is hazardous to humans and pets.
But like most methods, this strategy may take days before succeeding. you therefore need to be patient for it to work. Once successful, properly dispose of the poison remnants; this way, your children or pets cannot access it.
4. Cat Intervention
If you feel uncomfortable killing the rats, then a cat can save you the hassle. Apart from working to keep off the rodents, the cat can be a great pet! You only need to have the cat around the deck to scare them away.
The rats love dirty and congested places; thus, if your under-deck is untidy, it may easily attract rodents who will then build their nests. So, to keep the rats at bay, ensure that the space below the deck is always clean.
Suppose you are using the space below the deck as a store, then the rats can also feed on the items stored and keep coming back now that there are plenty of goodies to sustain them. If there’s no food, they will likely look for other places to feed on.
6. Dry Ice
This method is effective for rats that have made holes on the surface below your deck. You can stuff the ice in the hole, which will produce carbon dioxide; this will render the rats unconscious and eventually kill them. However, you should not use the ice in an airtight human-inhabited room. Besides, it is freezing and needs proper handling.
What Can You Put Under Your Deck To Keep Rats Away
If the other strategies don’t work, you need to expand your options. You can also try the following methods to ward off rats.
To prevent rodents from your deck, you need to dig deeper into your pockets to build an effective barrier that can deter animals from entering under the deck. Therefore, you can use a wire mesh or chicken wire and run it all around the deck, making sure that you dip part of the barrier some centimeters into the ground.
Doing so will completely secure your deck, and if you have worries about aesthetics, then potted plants may help.
2. Seal Openings on the Wood
Your deck may have a few openings; therefore, you need to seal the hole to solve the rat problem. These openings may allow food particles when you eat at the deck, which can easily attract rats. Once you notice these spaces, it is advisable to seal them immediately.
It’s Possible To Tell if Rats Are Under Decking
Apart from the above methods we have discussed, there are other methods to scare and eradicate rodents from your deck. You may use cloves, peppermint oil, or cayenne pepper since rats don’t like these substances’ smell.
Strategically place cotton soaked with these substances and place it under the deck. Also, mothballs can repel rats when used in appropriate dosage. Besides, bleach and vinegar have scents that easily wards away rats.
Hopefully, the strategies we have outlined will help you detect and control infestation on your deck. Thus, you will maintain your deck’s aesthetics and save you so much money that you would otherwise use in repairing and reconstruction.