Compost Piles Can Be Rat Feasts

Roof Rat,compost pile,portland oregon,
This pregnant Roof Rat was at the compost pile

I visited a client last week in North portland who had a serious problem with rats burrowing under her shallow foundation and getting into the entire house. And as so often happens, so did her neighbors. The Norway rats were burrowing under her foundation and the burrows were hidden under some scrap lumber beneath her deck. After she finally discovered the hidden holes, she would dutifuly fill them in. Every time she filled a hole a new burrow appeared near it. We pointed out that her compost pile was about five feet from her house, and she was a very active composter.

Ever since Portland Oregon changed the garbage pickup schedule from once a week to once every two weeks, the rat populations have substantially increased. The city has encouraged composting and the residents have embraced the practice. The drawback is that a composting system must be properly designed and maintained to prevent rodents from gaining access to the scraps.

This environmentally conscious lady had a large family and added to the organic pile daily. However, she turned the pile infrequently and it was resting on bare ground. The rats must have thought they had found Heaven. The rats were actually aerating the pile by burrowing through it.

It is wonderful to be Green and Earth friendly, but you have to do it right. The bottom of the pile must offer adaquate drainage and keep the rodents out. Tightly laid bricks at the base of the pile, along with one quarter inch wire mesh, also called Hardware cloth, can keep the rats from burrowing into the pile and retrieving the scraps. Small piles and plastic composting bins need to have quarter inch mesh sealing the underside. You can keep a natural balance in the pile by adding red worms and turning the pile regularly.

Remember, rats will dig under any solid object (your foundation) to hide excess food. A compost pile can offer a great deal of excess food to our Portland rat population.

We need no ‘long term contracts’ to be the Rat elimination experts.

Nature First Pest Control is the leader in Natural, Green and Organic Pest Control in Portland. We always try to exterminate naturally.