Moles, rats and ants: How to humanely keep away pests from your garden

Moles, rats and ants: How to humanely keep away pests from your garden

With the month of August comes the time to begin harvesting vegetables.

Ripe vegetables can also be when pests are most likely to break into your garden. Fortunately, there are methods you can use if you want to safely get critters out of your plants.

One of the best options for ridding your garden of pests is to purchase an ultrasonic pest repellent, which plays high frequency noises and blasts strobe lights that are triggered by an animal moving. The idea is that, after being exposed to the lights and sounds more than once, the machine will train the larger pests to avoid the garden altogether.

Building a fence is also an option. The height of your fence will be based on exactly which pests are trying to break in. If it’s something like a rat, it can be shorter, but if you’re dealing with a deer, you want a fence that is at least five feet tall, according to Bobvila. And, if the animal can dig underground, like a mole, you might want to dig a trench and then put a fence a few feet down using chicken wire or hardware cloth to protect root vegetables that grow underground.

If only a couple of your plants are falling victim to pest invasion, you can place a wire cloche over them.

Another worthy investment might be installing a raised garden bed to keep smaller pests from reaching your plants or harvest that would normally be on the ground.

If you want to avoid building or installing anything, many pests hate both the smell and taste of mint. To use this to your advantage, you can either plant a border of mint around your garden or other high pest areas, spray peppermint essential oil on hard surfaces around your garden, or scatter mint tea bags throughout the garden.

Continuing to drive the pests away with scents, Irish Spring bar soap, or any bar soap can also do the job. All you have to do is place it in a pouch and leave it anywhere within the garden.

Pests like moles and gophers don’t like the taste of castor oil. Bobvilagives readers a recipe of three tablespoons of castor oil, one tablespoon dish soap, and one gallon of water to make your own homemade spray to keep animals out of the garden. This can be sprayed anywhere you notice larger pests.

A universal scent and taste that animals also don’t like is cayenne pepper. The technique is to sprinkle it over any of the crops or plants the pests continue to target or over your entire garden. The animals will make the mistake of eating your spicy plants and likely not come back for seconds.

Should none of the prior methods work, noise is also an option. Adding windchimes or even a radio can make pests think a predator is nearby and can scare them off.

And if all these techniques have failed, why not offer something just for the critter themselves? You can set up a bird or squirrel feeder that caters more toward the pests, which means they might eat there instead of going after your plants.