So a few weeks ago I wrote about my rat experience. After returning from Tahoe, I think they are all dead. I know this because of the SMELL!!!! Hereinlies the problem with poison and guns... Rats die in places you don't want them to and ammunition destroys sheetrock! I did get lucky on a few... I found one dead in the garden, one I scared into a bucket of water, one I caught with a glue trap and the other I found tucked under some rocks - smelling... badly. There is also one in the crawl space - dead. Not good... not appealing to guests, dinner guests and the HUGE flies that appear are shagnasty. Anyway, I am going to retrieve the one in the crawl space. I have to - it is simply too gross to leave.
I had posted the story on www.grit.com. Readers, like here, are allowed to comment. Lo and behold a gentleman by the nom du plume Doc Green writes the following -
My first tier of defense is a natural enemy. Natural enemies like snakes and owls are wonderful to protect gardens. A friend of mine is a snake fancier and at one time had rat trouble due to escapees. All he did to solve his problem was to let a few of his snakes out to roam free in his house. They can go anywhere rodents can and will not only catch mice/rats that come into the house but will follow their scent and destroy them little ones in the nest as well. Problem solved. If you don’t want snakes running around you can keep one in a terrarium. The smell of snakes in the house might be enough to discourage then vermin to move out.
Other animals like cats and some dogs are good “mousers”. I am lucky to have both a good cat and nine dogs that are wonderful vermin destroyers. My cat does the aboveground work while my little terrier “Spanky” guards my front and back yards plus the floors inside the house. My other dogs guard and protect my other animals and garden areas. “Pepsi”, a Rottweiler Shepard mix protects “his” rabbits, while Sally stays with the chickens, protecting them from vermin of all sizes and other wild animals like birds.
If you can’t handle snakes or for whatever reason can’t have cats or dogs. Another line of defense I use to deter them from coming around is to grow/ plant "barriers" of perennial sweet peas (Lathyrus latifolius), which will repel mice. You will enjoy the beauty of these plants for many years to come too. Daffodils (Narcissus spp.), wood hyacinth (Scilla or squill) and grape hyacinth (Muscari) are said to repel rodents. Plant a pretty spring blooming border of them to help protect your house and plants year round. Planting herbs with a powerful scent will repel mice as well.
So I have planted garlic and onion chives, cilantro, rosemary among numerous others. The benefit - It repells the rodents The negative - It makes me hungry for garlic fries.
Here's to planting smelly herbs and repelling rodents forever.