The Q&A Archives: What to do about rats in our garden.

Question: We have managed to keep the deer and rabbits out of our garden but something has been eating our big beautiful eggplant and though it had been scooped out. I saw a rat in the garden. Is it possible this is the culprit and What do I do to remedy this? Thank you, John C

Answer: It is possible that rats are nibbling on your eggplant. Outside of covering your plants with cages, there's only one way to keep rats away from your veggies - trapping. Trapping is an effective method of control and it is the preferred method where only a few rats are present. Trapping has several advantages: 1) it does not rely on inherently hazardous poisons; 2) it permits the user to determine if the rat was killed and 3) it allows for disposal of rat carcasses, thereby eliminating odor problems which may occur when poisoning is done within the buildings.

A simple, inexpensive wood-based snap trap is available in most hardware and farm supply stores. Wire cage traps are more expensive but somewhat more successful than snap traps. Bait traps with peanut butter or a small piece of hot dog, bacon, or nutmeat tied securely to the trigger. The trigger should be set lightly so that it will spring easily. Set traps close to walls, behind objects, in dark corners, and in places where rat activity is seen. Place the traps so that rats, following their natural course of travel (usually close to a wall), will pass directly over the trigger.

Best wishes with your garden!

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