Pest control is something we should all be looking at, especially with the hotter months arriving where we can’t help but find ourselves chilling in our gardens.
You want your decking to stand out and you don’t want to feel restricted from using it because of the nested pests that found refuge during the colder months. 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.
There’s a range of pests that could make use out of your garden, but here are our top tips to preventing them:
Remove the appeal
What makes your decking an attractive place for pests to live? 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.
We’ve all forgotten to put rubbish in the bin after hosting a family BBQ, but it’s absolutely essential to do so. 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.
Any grassy area in your garden should be regularly maintained as bushes and hedges can make the perfect shelter. 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.
Remove entry points
Don’t let pests get under your decking in the first place — block it off. 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.
Nesting underneath a decked-out area will help protect pests from wind and rain. 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.
It might be worth knowing that although you’ve blocked your decking off, rats and mice can squeeze through small spaces — so make sure its sturdy!
Unless you have composite decking that doesn’t rot, you might want to take steps to prevent this particularly unpopular garden pest as normal wooden decking is subject to pest invasion.
In Britain, there are three main types of woodworm that you must look out for. 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.
Woodworm won’t think twice about invading your decking and outdoor furniture, but this can be combatted by making sure that it’s kept 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 noticed infestation in your garden 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.
Trapping your pests
If you already have pests in the garden and need help getting rid of them, you could consider using non-lethal traps or scent repellents.
Pests despise the smell of garlic, herbs and other spices. 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.
Have you ever considered using a non-lethal trap to get rid of those pests? 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.
This article was researched by Arbordeck, who are specialists in composite decking boards.