How do I Choose the Best Rodent Deterrents?

Elizabeth West
Elizabeth West
Blocks of rat poison.
Blocks of rat poison.

Choosing the best rodent deterrents depends on which animals are causing the problem, and the location. Chemical and ultrasonic repellents and traps can help with rodents already in residence. Preventive maintenance will keep rodents outside. Barriers and good storage practices can control rodents in gardens and outbuildings. For extensive infestations, a professional pest control service should be consulted.

Brown rats are a common rodent pest.
Brown rats are a common rodent pest.

Mice and rats can be eliminated with traps and baits, but poisons may not be a good choice for households with children and pets. Some people don’t like to kill the animals, and use live traps that allow transport and release. Natural rodent deterrents are safe and use scents mice dislike but that people find pleasant, such as peppermint oil, balsam, or citronella. These deterrents can be homemade or purchased at stores and online.

Planting strong-smelling plants like marigolds around the garden may repel rodents.
Planting strong-smelling plants like marigolds around the garden may repel rodents.

Ultrasonic rodent deterrents work by creating a tone that is out of the range of human hearing but audible to rodents. Studies on these devices have shown that animals will vacate the area but soon return when they get used to the sound. The ultrasonic repellents are best used in combination with other pest control methods or as a means of driving them away temporarily so their entrances can be blocked. Owners of guinea pigs and pet rats should remove them while the devices are in use.

Professional exterminators can eliminate rodents and assist homeowners in keeping them out permanently.
Professional exterminators can eliminate rodents and assist homeowners in keeping them out permanently.

Granular rodent deterrents containing naphthalene and sulfur can be used outside to help repel rodents from sheds or barns. If the building is used to store feed or grain for farm animals and pets, food should be kept off the floor so rodents can’t get to it. Overgrown areas of shrubbery and grass harbor rodents, as do piles of clutter in the yard. Once these areas are cleared, outside cracks and holes where pests enter can be sealed, and the granular product should be applied in the affected area.

The classic, spring-loaded mouse trap is designed to kill the rodent.
The classic, spring-loaded mouse trap is designed to kill the rodent.

In the garden, barriers such as fences and scare devices act as rodent deterrents to keep them from food crops. Fences should be placed at least six inches (15.24 cm) or more below the ground so rodents can’t dig underneath. Fake predators, such as plastic owls and motion devices, can help frighten some pests away. Placing strong-smelling plants like onion and marigold around the garden may repel rodents as well.

Rodent deterrents containing naphthalene and sulfur can be used to ward off rodents from outdoor storage areas like garden sheds.
Rodent deterrents containing naphthalene and sulfur can be used to ward off rodents from outdoor storage areas like garden sheds.

If rodent deterrents have no effect or the infestation is extreme, a pest control company may have to be called. Rodents and their waste products harbor diseases, are a huge threat to the health and welfare of people and pets, and can cause a great deal of damage to homes and property. Professional exterminators can eliminate rodents and assist homeowners in keeping them out permanently.

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    • Blocks of rat poison.
      Blocks of rat poison.
    • Brown rats are a common rodent pest.
      Brown rats are a common rodent pest.
    • Planting strong-smelling plants like marigolds around the garden may repel rodents.
      Planting strong-smelling plants like marigolds around the garden may repel rodents.
    • Professional exterminators can eliminate rodents and assist homeowners in keeping them out permanently.
      Professional exterminators can eliminate rodents and assist homeowners in keeping them out permanently.
    • The classic, spring-loaded mouse trap is designed to kill the rodent.
      The classic, spring-loaded mouse trap is designed to kill the rodent.
    • Rodent deterrents containing naphthalene and sulfur can be used to ward off rodents from outdoor storage areas like garden sheds.
      Rodent deterrents containing naphthalene and sulfur can be used to ward off rodents from outdoor storage areas like garden sheds.