How To Get Rid of Rodents in Your Yard

Some may wonder, can feeding birds really add to pests in your yard or garden? The short and sweet answer is that, indeed, it may. While most people are eager to help wildlife or even feed birds for pure beauty, it may not yield the desired results. While attracting birds to your yard can be beautiful and educational, the vermin you may inadvertently attract can be destructive and pose a threat for carrying diseases.

If your goal is to get rid of rats and other vermin in your yard, it is imperative to stop using bird food, at least for a while. Bait and traps will not work as intended if birds are continually fed in the yard. Rather, rats, mice, squirrels, and other vermin will be more attracted to the birdseed that is laid out than the bait that has been planted. However, certain things can be done to help lessen the desire for these four-legged visitors to come calling.

wild squirrel in yard

Scavengers such as mice and rats are what are called opportunistic feeders. In other words, they will seek food wherever it is easily accessible to them. If bird feed is openly displayed in the yard, it is in their nature to dig, climb, search, or otherwise find ways of accessing it.

Another thing to remember is that birds being fed in a yard does not mean that vermin will automatically appear. It may end up not being an issue whatsoever! Many people put bird food out for feathered friends, yet they never see any unwanted visitors.

Rodents are Common Outdoor Visitors in Oklahoma

Mice, rats, and other vermin may be in your garden or yard regardless of whether there is bird seed. Truthfully, it is highly likely that some of these critters have passed through your space a time or two. Certain areas, such as gardens with dense food or vegetation, gardens found in inner cities, or country gardens, are likely to have rats or mice at one time or another. Granted, you may not see them out unless they are boldly eating food.

If you already have vermin residing in or near your outdoor space, the bird food may lure them out of their hiding spaces. It is unlikely that it causes mice and rats to relocate to your garden from near and far. However, keep in mind that if you have seed or birdfeeders in a place where you can see them easily, you may spot one of these critters.

A pair of Carolina wren on the wooden feeder
  • Bird Food Can Spoil Quickly

One thing to keep in mind is that bird food does go bad if it is not eaten. Therefore, if the birds aren’t eating food because it has been spoiled, mice and rats most likely won’t partake either. Most animals are pretty good at sensing when food has gone bad and will take steps to avoid it.

Specifically, bird food will often go bad after being outdoors for a few weeks. Since bird food is a natural product, the light and naturally occurring elements such as rain or snow can cause the birdseed to spoil more quickly. Paying attention to when food spoils and being mindful to replace it promptly is helpful to both birds and your goal of keeping away pests.

Bird house with bird feed Grains and cereal
  • Limiting Rodent Activity in Your Yard

If you have decided to use birdseed in your yard, another way to help reduce mice and rats in your yard is by ensuring that it is difficult for them to reach the bird food. If it is more challenging to get, they will be less likely to go after it.

Although rats are fantastic at climbing, they are most likely to eat food that has fallen on the ground. If you make sure that birdseed that has fallen on the ground has been picked up and no mess remains, rats are less likely to visit.

Here are a few ways to help lessen the spills that may occur on the ground:

  • Use high-quality bird food so that birds eat more of it. The cheap kinds can often contain fillers that birds do not prefer as much. They may knock the seed on the ground while trying to get to the good stuff.
  • Try to use bird food that doesn’t have husks. Although birds often truly enjoy black sunflower seeds, they are likely to remove the husks, drop them on the ground, and only eat the seed.
  • Ensure that you use the correct type of feeder for the seed you are supplying. For example, tiny seeds need to be in a feeder designed for that type of food. Feeders for small food will have smaller holes to help prevent the seed from falling out.
  • Do not fill the trays all the way to the top. Rather, feeders should have a little extra space so that the excess food doesn’t spill out as easily.

If you have taken all of these precautions and you notice that rats or mice are still willing to climb the poles to reach tables and feeders, you can attempt to dissuade them using the following tips:

  • 1 Put Vaseline on the pole. The rats and mice won’t be able to grip the pole and will therefore be unable to climb.
  • 2 Take a few moments to move the bird feeder away from things that are easy to climb. For example, if your feeder has been near a tree or a shed, mice, rats, and squirrels may be likely to jump from one to another. Instead, attempt to move your feeder pole more in the middle of the yard.
  • 3 You might also try making or purchasing an item called a “baffle” that can help scare vermin away. These are often used for squirrels but may work for rats and mice.
  • 4 Make your garden less friendly for the critters who might want to visit. If you have trash or items lying out, vermin might want to dig through them. Instead, ensure that all garbage is stored in closed containers away from the garden and seed.
birdfeeder in a summer garden

If all else fails, try not using seed for a while. If you notice that your vermin problem has diminished, you can try again and see what happens! Many of these species will continue to mate year-round – leading to a population explosion that can quickly become an infestation in a matter of months. If you suspect that critters may have infiltrated your garage, attic, or other areas of your home, give Emtec Pest Control a call so we can help you evict them.

At Emtec Pest Control, we are committed to safe and responsible pest control. We understand that your family’s safety is your number one priority, so we make it our priority, too. If you have any other questions about any of these pests or pest control for your home or business, contact your Oklahoma pest control experts at Emtec Pest Control by calling us or by filling out our online contact form. Our service areas in Northeast Oklahoma include Bixby, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Owasso, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Stillwater, Tulsa and the surrounding areas. In Central Oklahoma, we service Edmond, Moore, Oklahoma City, Yukon and the surrounding areas. You can also connect with us on social media for more helpful pest control tips and information. We are on Facebook.