Rat Proofing Your Shed For The Winter

brown rat

The humble garden shed. Often a place to escape the hustle and bustle of a busy family home, or somewhere to sit and enjoy a quiet cup of tea. But all too often, fury intruders make our little garden sanctuaries their home for the winter. As the nights draw in and temperature drops the garden is often left dormant. This is exactly what rats and mice love. A warm place where they don’t get disturbed and can set up their living quarters. However, leaving rats and mice to their own devices can be catastrophic when you come to get the lawn mower out for the first time in spring. Rats and mice will chew through wires, cords, fabrics and plastics with ease, and when it comes to starting that lawn mower for the first time all we get is a cough and a stutter no matter how hard you try. It’s not down to there being old or no fuel, or the spark plug not being clean. It’s often down to the cables being chewed by rodents. Your cherished garden gloves will have a finger missing and bags of expensive compost will have holes in and be spread all over the floor. Sometimes a group of over wintering rodents can cost give you an unexpected bill of hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds.

When it comes to treating a rodent problem, that old saying rings true “prevention is better than cure.” But where to start? The main reason rodents will move into a shed is the offering of a warm place to stay during the colder months. What a rodent sees as a warm place, we often see as clutter. A messy, untidy shed offers lots of places for a rodent to make a nest and settle down. The last job before the shed is left for the winter should be to have a good sort out. Any rubbish that is no longer needed should be thrown away. Any food sources such as bird food should be stored in a metal bin or container, or taken out of the shed completely. Items that stay in the shed should be left with space around them and not thrown in a corner for the rodents to get behind. All of these measures should stop any rodents from choosing your shed as their winter residents.

The best way to keep rodents out of your shed is to completely stop them from gaining access. This can be a tricky task, but once complete you will never have to worry about any of your belongings being damaged again. Mice are often a lot harder to exclude that rats as they can get through the smallest of holes. When checking for any access holes you should go over the whole of the shed with a fine tooth comb. A mouse can get through a hole the size of a five pence coin, so attention to detail is paramount.

So, you’ve found a hole, but how do you block it? A quick fix can be as simple as a brick or stone in front of the hole to block it off, but this will often still leave a gap for the rodent to get in. The best way to fill a hole is to plug it with a mixture of wire wool and a hole filling compound. The wire wool can fit into any shape and the filler keeps it in place. Rodents won’t be able to chew through the wool and will keep out of your shed. 

What about the door? Under the gap in the door is often the easiest, and most obvious way for a rodent to enter your shed if the door doesn’t have a tight fit. It’s often something we don’t even give a second thought to. However, the gap under the door is one of the easiest places to block. An easy to install, rodent door sweep or seal is simple to cut to size and installed onto the bottom of your door. A job that takes minutes but lasts for years.

Following these steps before locking your shed up for the winter will leave it clean, tidy, but most importantly rodent free.