Ringbarking by Rats
Locally, we and our neighbours are experiencing a plague of rats. I have actually seen them in the garden as well as hearing them in the wall and on the roof. In the house we are using 3 different types of traps, although we have caught a few, we haven"t caught any for a week or so. It would seem that our rats are very clever, they can take the bait without setting off the trap or on two they set off the traps and then take the bait. For me the worst thing of all, they have been eating the bark of my 14 year old kaffir lime tree to the extent that I have had to prune all of the branches except one and the main trunk is nearly ringbarked! I have looked online but the only hint I have come across for possible pest control is to spray with Neem oil. Please, has anyone had any experience of rats and successfully dealt with them?
I have used Ratsak wax blocks before with excellent results. Rats are too smart for traps. Unlike regular Ratsak and other conventional rat poisons which contain Warfarin the wax blocks contain Brodifacoum which will work even on rats that have become resistant to Warfarin. Keep it well away from other animals of course! You can buy them at Bunnings and many other stores.
Thanks Eric, useful to know about the wax blocks, the trouble is I live in an area with a lot of bird life, including owls and tawny frogmouths. Other people have obviously used some form of Ratsak because we have been hearing about more dead birds than usual. I can only hope that people will stop feeding the feral deer and leaving food out for birds, that along with the local house cats might eventually do the trick.
Try placing the wax rat blocks on the horizontal boards of your wooden fences, especially under creepers where I"ve glimpsed rats scurrying. Wedging the blocks down behind the horizontal beams is certainly effective, as we "Ve found the blocks so severely gnawed that the pesky rats have actually nibbled into the adjoining wood as well! rats have almost ring barked my potted curry plant, so I feel as you do!
We put mesh cages around plants that need protection. We buy a gauge heavier than chicken mesh & cut & join the cage with plastic ties. We have kangaroos & hares that damage our plants & trees. We buy the wire from a rural supply store. We live on an acre & buy a large roll which last us. The cages can be removed either from the top or by cutting the ties. I find these useful as they can be as high or wide as I choose.