Finding rats or evidence of the pests in and around your compost bin can be more than a bit unsettling. These persistent rodents have been known to chew through wood, wire, plastic, and just about anything else that gets in their way. They multiply at alarming rates; one pair can spawn nearly one thousand baby rats in a year. And they carry diseases, including Typhoid, Plague, Leptospirosis, and Salmonella.
Whether you live in the city, suburbs, or country, chances are good that you may end up having to deal with rats at some point.
In general, rats are looking for two basic things: food and shelter. In some cases, a compost pile ends up being both, and you have a rat problem. There are several simple ways to both prevent rats from getting into your compost pile and for getting them to leave if they’ve already found it.
Bury Food Scraps
Mostly, the compost piles are the easy source of food, which attracts the rats towards them. If you haven’t used Bokashi in the compost pile then you should not add dairy or meat because it pulls the rats. Also, they can eat the potato peels in case they are way too hungry. The best way to ensure the safety of your compost is to cover it well. Whenever you finish adding the compost in the bin, make sure that you have covered it. If you are storing the compost in open, then you might need to cover it with the leaves or grass clippings.
Don’t Add Food Waste
For those areas where rats are a very serious problem, make sure that you don’t add any food waste to your compost pile. But, it doesn’t mean that you need to waste the food scraps. Get a vermicomposting bin to store food waste or you can directly bury the food waste in the garden
Use Bokashi to Make Food Completely Unappealing
It has been seen that the hungriest rats can’t bear to go near the Bokashi fermented food waste. The trick is very simple, get a Bokashi bucket and add all the food waste in it. Cover the waste with a layer of Bokashi bran and keep it in the buckets for at least two weeks and then you can put it on the compost pile. Apart from eating, the rats won’t even come near the compost pile.
Keep the Contents Moist
As noted above, one of the two things rats are looking for when they invade your compost is shelter. A dried out compost pile not only is inefficient in terms of making compost, but it’s a haven for rats. Just think: it’s a dry, warm, insulated place to sleep (and maybe even nest) that just might have a few tasty morsels to snack on. But, if you make sure your compost pile is always moist throughout (not wet; that results in anaerobic conditions and unpleasant odors) it won’t be a place rats will be interested in making their own. By turning the pile regularly and giving it a bit of water during dry spells, you can help make it much less hospitable to rodents.
Plant Mint Nearby
This is one of those tips that seems to work for some people and not for others, but it’s worth a try. Mice and rats are reputed to hate the scent of mint, so if you plant a few mint plants close to your compost pile, it may be enough to deter the little pests. Note, however, that if you have a very large or very hungry rat population in your area, it’s unlikely that a little mint will deter them.
By putting these tips to work in your own compost bin or pile, you can ensure that it will be a rodent-free zone.