A well-designed deck can transform your garden in so many ways. However, maintaining your garden composite decking can be challenging, with so many issues and problems you might encounter. For this reason, many choose low-maintenance alternatives to wood, such as composite decking. One of the common problems with decking that concerns many homeowners are rat infestations. Even two rats can reach a population of a thousand in one year if not prevented. Realistically, it is not likely to be at that point, but you will have a big problem on your hands when they populate your deck. But the question is, do rats live under garden decking? If so, what causes it? And what are the steps you can do to prevent it? 

Rats Can Live Garden Decks

Having a deck on your garden requires inspection and maintenance to avoid many problems, and one of them is rat infestation. Under certain circumstances, rats and other critters can live under your deck. Not only is this a health and sanitary problem, but these critters can also nibble, scratch, and ruin your deck. And they can also destroy the precious plants in your garden. 

So what causes rats and other creatures to live under garden decks? One of the most probable reasons is litter. When you have picnics or eat meals on your deck, some food may fall on your deck floor. If the decking board gaps are too big, food may fall further down under your deck

without you noticing it. 

How Can You Tell if Rats Live Under Your Deck?

Seeing a rat running around your garden is a clear indication of rat infestation. But what if you don’t see the rats and still suspect that you have a rat problem? There are a few ways you can tell.

One easy way is to look under your deck. Check for any signs of nesting. Rats tend to gather paper, tissue, cloth, and other materials to create nests. Another way is to look for any holes or digging, as many varieties of rats burrow underground. Check for any droppings or leftover food. If any of these are present, you may have a problem at hand. 

You can also buy a single rat trap and set it under your deck. Lastly, if you see baby rats, which are often less careful than adults, then you have a big problem. 

Preventing Rat Problems

rat under garden decking

The easiest way to solve rat infestation problems is to call professional pest controllers. However, that can be rather expensive. The good news is, there are plenty of ways you can prevent and solve rat problems without the need to spend hundreds on pest control. 

Use Carpets and Rugs – First, you will want to make the deck uninhabitable as possible. Meaning, you will want to avoid any food or liquids spilling under your deck. If you plan to use your deck on BBQ parties or family get-togethers, you can put rags and carpets on your deck floor. However, make sure to get the right ones that won’t damage your deck. 

Regular Maintenance – Another way is to clean your deck regularly. It may not be an easy task, but it will save you so much more effort and money than dealing with a rat problem. Wipe any food, liquids, and other debris on your deck as soon as possible. If possible, set a regular schedule to clean under your deck. 

Cover the Ground – Since many rats burrow underground, it can also be helpful to place landscaping fabric and gravel on your deck’s foundation. Not only will it prevent rats from digging underground, but it can also avoid plant growth, which may make the place more habitable to creatures such as rats. 

Block All Entrances – If you have a raised deck, another way to prevent rats is to block all possible ways for rats to live under your garden deck. Cover any entrances with chicken wire or mesh. If you want a more decorative choice, you can also try installing trellis to block passages.

Poison, Traps, and Repellant – For many years, homeowners use poison to get rid of rat problems. However, for most people, not only is it not safe, but it is also inhumane. As an alternative, you can use traps instead. You can also find different repellant, from commercial products to homemade concoctions.