Ensuring your garden is pest free

Summer may be over, but it doesn’t mean you should forget about potential pest problems.  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.

For advice and help on how to prevent pests invading your property, check out this guide:

Make your garden unattractive to vermin

Normally, you’ll find that pests search for an area for food and shelter. Does your garden offer these factors? 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.

You should never leave any rubbish or leftover food out in your garden. 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.

It’s recommended that you regularly trim any shrubs or hedges in your garden, and also mow your lawn. 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.

Bock off any access points

It’s essential the you barricade any shelter spots in your garden. 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. But how do you make a barrier yourself? 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. Pests can find themselves squeezing through small gaps — so it’s vital that your decking is sealed properly.

Protect your wooded garden furniture and decking

Have you considered how to protect against woodworm? This pest can occur when wood in your garden gets wet — so perhaps invest in decking boards that don’t rot. However, if you already have normal wood decking, you could be at risk of it being infested with woodworm. It’s worth knowing that there are three different types of woodworm here in Britain. 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.

You should make sure that you do everything you can to make sure rain isn’t able to dampen your wood furniture and decking. 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.

Unfortunately, British gardeners will be troubled by woodworm. So, do you know if you have an infestation currently? 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.

Catching unwanted critters

Of course, you may not want to hurt any unwanted critters. Why not use a humane trap or repel rodents using different scents? There are a few aromas that will deter them from spending too long in your garden. For example, hot spices can be an off-putting smell for rodents, and you can plant a peppermint tree around the edges of your decking or sprinkle cayenne around potential entry points to dissuade vermin from nesting.

Alternatively, you could place humane traps in your garden so that you can then release the creatures far away from your home once you have caught them.

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