how to get rid of rats in a garden shed

How to Get Rid Of Rats in a Garden Shed: Make Your Garden Shed Inhospitable For Them

Last Updated on January 10, 2023

No one wants rats in their garden buildings or sheds. However, rats in the garden can be quite common if you don’t take some preventative measures. This is because rodents look for nesting areas with a roof for shelter and clutter that provides many hiding places, which is common in garden buildings. Nesting places are also close to a food and water source, like gardens. Sewers are a common home for rodents, but your shed is a great alternative unless you ensure it is not a hospitable nesting area. This article explores how to get rid of rats in a garden shed so you can rid yourself of a rodent infestation or take steps to prevent it from happening in the future. With any luck, you may even be able to get rid of the rodents without any help from a professional pest control technician.

Getting Started

Rats in the Garden: The Basics

Rodents reproduce at an alarmingly fast rate, and as a rat infestation grows, it becomes extremely difficult to manage. For this reason, you must take immediate action at the first sign of a rodent problem. It may eliminate the need to use rat poison, which can be unsafe for other pets or food in gardens or prevent the need for the professional help from pest control experts.

Common garden rodents include brown rats, field vole, bank vole, black rat, and mice. Considering all of the different types of rodents and the often hospitable shed in your garden area, it is no wonder rats in the garden are so common.

How to Know if Rats Are Present

When it comes to rodents and pest control, you must first be able to identify the problem. So, how do you know if you have a rodent or animal problem?

  • Rodents love to chew on things. Look for bite marks in rubber hoses or pieces of wood in and around your shed. Bite marks are a sure sign of pests.
  • Some rodents make shallow holes or burrows, especially brown rat. Look for small holes next to a food source to alert you of the presence of pests. Rat faeces and smear marks caused by urine are easy to spot and a sure sign of an infestation. Rodent droppings are oval in shape and somewhat resemble a large grain of rice.
  • Dogs and cats may start acting strangely in certain areas around your garden and garden shed, alerting you to the existence of pests. If your pets start searching frantically or guarding holes, you most likely have an infestation of some sort.

Damage and Risks Associated With Rats

Rodents around your garden and shed can pose a series of potential risks leading to damage. It makes pest control vital for the health and safety of your home.

  • Mice and other rodents carry various serious diseases that can be harmful to pets and people alike.
  • Rats chew on electrical wires and cables that damage your property and home, which can lead to electrical safety hazards. Rats also chew on fences, doors, and water pipes leading to further damage to your shed and home.
  • Rats and mice will eat vegetables or fruits that they can find in your garden. They will also steal any food storage you may have in your shed when given the opportunity.
  • Rodents will also invade trash cans and compost heaps in search of food scraps creating a mess and contaminating your compost.

With all of the ways rats can damage your home, pest control and prevention should not be overlooked or postponed.

Always Take Safety Precautions

Pest control can be a messy business. If it is not done correctly, it can also pose a serious risk to your health and safety.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), a severe respiratory disease, can be transmitted through the urine, faeces, and saliva of infected rats. Humans can contract HPS by breathing in the virus, being bitten, or touching their eyes, mouth, or nose after coming in contact with rat bodily fluids.

To prevent health risks while you work, always wear rubber gloves and a protective face covering when handling rat nest materials or cleaning up rat faeces and dead rats.

Make Your Garden Sheds Less Appealing to Rats

Prevention is key when it comes to eliminating a rat infestation. The following measures should be taken in order to prevent rats from finding your shed a hospitable and welcome home for their nesting area.

Step 1: Remove Clutter

Start by eliminating all hiding spaces that rodents may find for shelter in your storage areas. As we briefly mentioned above, rats love clutter because it provides them with shelter. Often, our outdoor garden sheds become a haven for clutter as we continue adding items for storage which also attracts mice and other rodents.

Step 2: Clog Holes

Clog any holes in all possible entry points, including holes in the walls, floor or roof. Mice and other rodents are able to squeeze through tiny coin-sized holes with ease, and if you leave any gaps or open areas in your shed’s exterior, they will use this to their advantage.

When clogging holes, make sure to use strong materials that rats can’t chew through, as they are known to do. Materials impenetrable by rats include sheet metal screwed in place, cement, or mortar and metal mesh with a heavy gauge.

Pro-Tip: You may also want to try adding glass that’s broken or ground up to wet cement to deter rats from trying to dig through the material while it is still wet.

Foam and other caulking materials may also help when it comes to clogging possible entry points but should still be covered by a stronger material, or the rats will likely chew through it again.

Step 3: Eliminate Food Sources

Take special care to eliminate and secure any food sources. It includes any pet food or other animal feed like rabbits or chickens, seeds for birds, or food scraps from your garden. Animal food will draw rats in and provide them with a reason to stay. If you can’t eliminate the source completely, make sure to store it in lockable bins.

Step 4: Secure Lids on Trash and Compost Bins

Trash bins and compost piles that are unsecured can also work as food sources for rats. Install locks or upgrade your trash bins to be more secure to prevent them from gaining access. You will also want to reinforce a compost bin made with chicken wire because it easily allows mice and other rodents in.

Step 5: Eliminate Water Sources When Possible

We know you need water for your garden and lawn to thrive, but try eliminating extra water sources like birdbaths or extra sprinklers whenever possible. Also, fix any leaks in drain pipes that could be providing rodents with access to water. Rats can’t survive without water, although mice can, so eliminating water will help push rats out of your lawn.

Removing Rats After an Infestation

Now let’s discuss the elimination of the animals themselves. It is just as important as making your shed less hospitable, possibly more critical because it attacks the problem at the source.

Rat Traps

Installing rat traps is essential to eliminating an infestation. Fortunately, when it comes to traps, you have a wide variety of options.

Some traps kill rats, like snap traps or electrocution traps, also called rat zappers. These kinds of rat traps are the most effective at eliminating your problem permanently.

Some traps, called live traps like glue boards or cages, are considered more humane. Live traps can be effective, but you will have to relocate the rats very far away; otherwise, they will just return.

Pro-Tips: Use peanut butter and regular butter as rat bait. Then install traps; the more traps you use, the better. After that, check the traps you install daily and move around frequently because rats are smart and will remember where they are to avoid them. Lay traps for an extended period of time.

Even after you notice a significant improvement, you will want to stay diligent until the problem is completely eliminated, and you can ensure your shed is no longer a hospitable place for a nest.

Natural Solutions

You can also try flooding the burrows of rats with water. However, they may have dug under your garden or other areas so that you may be flooding unseen areas of your lawn as well and possibly damaging root vegetables in your garden.

There are also a variety of scents that rats hate to smell. We recommend you try scattering them around your shed and garden to deter rats naturally.

Common scents used as rodent repellents:

  • Citronella
  • Cloves
  • Mothballs
  • Peppermint
  • Dryer sheets
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Fox urine
  • Ammonia
  • Rat Poison

Rat poison is often the most effective method when it comes to eliminating rats permanently. Unfortunately, rat poison is not good for use around areas you grow food, may be harmful to other pets and is inhumane, so many people try to avoid this method until they run out of alternatives.


Pest controller experts, or exterminators, are often the last resort for people because they often use harmful substances and can cost quite a bit of money.

However, they are often extremely efficient and effective. If you are having trouble ridding your self of a rat infestation using all of the ways described above, it may be time to call in a professional for help.

Rid Yourself of Rats in No Time

Since you know how to get rid of rats in a garden shed, don’t let the problem become any worse. Act now! Whether you start by laying down traps or working to make your shed a less hospitable place for rats and mice to use as a nesting area, don’t delay, or the problem will only become harder to control.

Let us know what you think and how your pest control project goes in the comments below.

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