When the nicer weather arrives, you need to make the most out of your decked space — but the last thing you want to find is pests around your area.
As we’ve entered the colder months, pests will begin to look for shelter and your garden is the ideal space. 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.
You need to prevent pest invasion across your compostite decking boards — this includes birds and mice.
Lower the appeal
You need to remove the appeal of your decking. 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.
If you eat in your garden, make sure that all rubbish is cleared so pests don’t make their way to your space. 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.
You should also be regularly trimming your hedges to reduce the number of sheltered locations for pests to live. 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.
Barricade the space
Have you considered barricading your decking? 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.
Beneath your decking is the perfect location for pests to protect themselves from harsh weather conditions. To stop this happening, 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.
Believe it or not, rats and mice can squeeze through some of the smallest spaces (as small as half an inch) so your area must be tightly secured.
Seal your space
Woodworm is a pest you’ll likely encounter. Unless you have composite decking that doesn’t rot, you might want to take steps to prevent this particularly unpopular garden pest.
You may have heard of the three types of common woodworm. 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.
The first step is keeping your wooden area dry. 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.
Have you encountered a pest invasion already? 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.
This should be your final step if necessary. If you already have pests in the garden and need help getting rid of them, you could consider using non-lethal traps or scent repellent. Alternatively, try spices — pests hate the smell. Plant a peppermint tree around the edges of your decking or sprinkle cayenne around potential entry points to deter vermin from nesting. Of course, there are also plenty of commercial rat and mice repellents you can buy that will work to keep pests at bay.
But forget cheese; sweet treats work best to lure mice. Place these around your decking and make sure to release the rodent at least one mile from your home once caught. If you prefer, buy an ultrasonic pest repellent. Compact and discreet, these devices are ideal for placing by your decking and emit high-frequency sound waves that rodents can’t stand — and we can’t hear.