Top Scents that Repel and Attract Rats
Rodent infestations are more common than you may think and if you’ve never experienced one, you should count yourself lucky. When kept as pets, rats can be super cute and fun, but an infestation is the farthest thing from fun. Rats can destroy your home and put the health of you, your family, and even your pets at risk.
Statistically, each year an estimated 21 million homes experience a rodent invasion in the US alone. What often leads to such invasions is a small, sometimes seemingly negligible factor that often surprises homeowners: smells.
Scents That Attract Rats
Rats have a great sense of smell and they are also avid scavengers. Here are some scents you may have around your house that could be attracting rats to your home:
- Birdseed – Birdseed that collects on your deck or nearby the side of your home may be attracting rodents to your property, ultimately encouraging them to linger around, and even enter your home. Make sure to sweep up and extra
- Garbage – If you have an open garbage can near your home, it can draw rats in for a tasty dumpster treat. Make sure your garbage cans have lids and that they are not stored directly next to the siding of your home, this will discourage rats form attempting to enter your home after exploring your trash bins.
- Compost Bins – Similar to garbage bins, you will want to be sure any compost is covered and kept away from the side of your home.
- Dog Poop – Disgustingly, dog poop is actually a major food source for rats. Canine feces is only 60% digested leaving rodents a great food source full ofvitamins… including the antidote to the anticoagulant poison in our bait blocks: Vitamin K. Take care to remove your pup’s droppings from your yard. Taking this measure will both help prevent the attraction of more rats to your home and prevent the consumption of the droppings counteracting the anticoagulant bait blocks we use in our rodent stations.
- Food – If you leave food out on your counters, on dirty dishes in the sink, or in your backyard following a barbeque, local rodents will definitely be picking up on the scent. This doesn’t just go for rodents, however. Sealing and properly storing food is crucial to pest control regarding nearly every pest there is.
Scents That Repel Rats
Just as some scents draw rat’s attention, others have actually been found to help drive them away. Here are some different smells known for this and information on whether or not it is a good DIY trick to try at your own home.
- Peppermint Oil – While some people swear by this trick, others have reported that it did nothing in their attempts to repel rats. However, this is a very safe and easy DIY method of keeping rats at bay, and recent studies conducted in Thailand have found that there is scientific proof that rats will actively avoid the scent of peppermint. Spritzing peppermint oil around the base of your home will then, not only make it smell nice, but provide potential rodent control.
- Eucalyptus – A study published in The Scientific World Journal in 2014 proved that Eucalyptus is effective at repelling rats. However, the downside to using Eucalyptus oils is that its scent deteriorates and therefore the oil needs to be reapplied almost daily to remain effective.
- Citronella – Not only does it repel rats, but citronella is well known for being a powerful mosquito repellant. Further studies have even alluded to the fact that it may discourage other flying pests from approaching your home as well, so planting some citronella in your backyard is a very helpful DIY pest control barrier.
- Scents of Predators – Rats are prey animals, so the smell of potential predators such as dogs, cats, foxes, or racoons, can be very effective in helping to deter rats. While it may be difficult to get the scents of wild predators like foxes to aid in rat deterrent, simply owning a cat or dog can help discourage rats from targeting your home.
- Moth Balls – This, while effective, is NOT recommended. In the past, moth balls were used as DIY rodent control, but since the 2000’s they have quickly been determined to be detrimental. In fact, the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) has even issued a warning about ever using moth balls as they are toxic to humans, pets, and the environment. So, they may repel rats, but it seems they repel pretty much anything else as well.
Jitchotvisut, J. (2019) 10 Things You Might Not Know Attract Mice, Insider. Available at: https://www.insider.com/what-attracts-mice-2018-12 (Accessed: October 2020).
Thind, R. and Mahal, A. (2014) “Potential of Eucalyptus Oil as Repellent Against House Rat ,” The Scientific World Journal. Edited by M. Todaro. doi: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/249284/.
What Attracts Rats? (2018) Wildlife Removal USA. Available at: http://wildliferemovalusa.com/ratattraction.html (Accessed: October 2020).