Get rid of mice and rats in the compost

Mice and rats in the compost and thus also in the garden and soon also in the house are a nuisance that can not only be annoying, but also harmful to health.

Rodents in the compost – why?

In order to be able to safely expel and get rid of the rodents from the compost heap, it is important to know what attracts them here in the first place:

  • Leftover food in the compost heap
  • warmth in the composter

If these are known, there are various ways to drive away the annoying and often harmful rodents.

Identify and get rid of rodents in the compost

Rats have much stronger dentition and regrowing teeth than mice. However, both can eat through wood or plastic and end up in the composter. Anyone who finds bite holes on the walls of the composter can be sure that the harmful rodents have moved inside. When you open the lid, it can also happen that one or the other animal quickly runs away or sits cheekily and stares back.

Create an uncomfortable environment

To prevent mice and rats from settling in the compost, the animals should be made as uncomfortable as possible. The rodents are attracted to the high, warm temperatures in the composter. This can be prevented as follows:

  • Prick the compost heap frequently with a digging fork
  • dig up several times a week
  • this causes temperature fluctuations
  • it gets too hot or too cold
  • Don’t let compost heaps dry out
  • Wetness also deters the rodents

Move compost more often

Even if the compost heap is often moved to another place, the rats and mice will avoid it more quickly. Because this also makes the environment uncomfortable. The way to do this is as follows:

  • fertilize the beds with compost in the spring
  • an empty compost heap is easier to move
  • therefore look for another place in the spring
  • the second time in autumn
Tip: There is not always enough space in the garden to place the compost heap in many different places. Then you can also use two or three locations, create the first location, then shift to the second and finally to the third, then start again at the first location.

Don’t put leftovers on compost

Anything that has been cooked or prepared should not be disposed of in the composter. Because the rodents are magically attracted to the smells. Table waste should therefore always be placed in the well-closed residual waste.

  • Meat, fried, boiled or raw
  • cooked vegetables
  • pasta, rice and more

Be careful with fruit

Rotten fruit transferred from the garden to the composter should not be placed in a single pile here. This promotes decay and the rodents are attracted to the smell, which is particularly attractive to these animals. Therefore, proceed as follows with fallen fruit:

  • Distribute over a large area on the composter
  • better still put it under the top layer
  • Apply leaves again over the fruit
  • This way, odors don’t escape to the outside as quickly

Set live traps

Live traps can be set up so that the animals can be caught. These are wire mesh baskets that are provided with a bait. If the rodents get into the cage, a mechanism is triggered and the trap snaps shut. It is important to constantly check the live traps, otherwise the other animals that are also staying here will be warned.

Anyone who wants to use deadly traps will have little success with this, because the rodents are very clever and learn quickly.

Secure composter

In order not to give the mice and rats the opportunity to make themselves comfortable in the compost, there are also ways to secure it. This can be done as follows:

  • place on a wire rack
  • Cover open compost heap with mesh
  • Keep ventilation holes on the sides very small
  • can also be protected with a close-meshed grid
Note: If nothing helps and the rodents cannot be driven away and even get into your house, then you should think about hiring an exterminator. Because the animals multiply explosively once they have settled in one place.

Kira Bellingham

I'm a homes writer and editor with more than 20 years' experience in publishing. I have worked across many titles, including Ideal Home and, of course, Homes & Gardens. My day job is as Chief Group Sub Editor across the homes and interiors titles in the group. This has given me broad experience in interiors advice on just about every subject. I'm obsessed with interiors and delighted to be part of the Homes & Gardens team.

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