Around 2.9 million Americans report having both roaches and rodents in their homes, the U.S. Census Bureau reveals. Garden decking, in particular, can be a particular attraction for common unwanted pests, such as rodents, termites, and carpenter ants. By taking care to look after your decking, you can ensure it stays in tip-top shape and successfully keep pests at bay.
Keep it clean and tidy
Debris, particularly leftover food, is one of the main drivers of pests. So, be careful to always clean your decking after it’s used for dinners, BBQs, or parties. Trash can lids should also be properly sealed so as not to attract unwanted critters. Similarly, it’s important to keep your greenery tidy. Pests are particularly drawn to tall grass and messy hedges, which means they should be mowed and trimmed regularly. If you like to feed the birds, avoid ground or table feeding. Opt for a feeder mounted high up in the air where mice and rats can’t get to it, and position it far away from your decking. Wild rodents are, in fact, some of the most dangerous backyard pests, largely due to their propensity for chewing electrical wires. As such, rodents are estimated to be responsible for 20%-25% of fires with unknown causes in the United States.
Seal access points
Bar pests from camping out under your decking – this may be a particular problem during colder winter months – by sealing the access points with mesh, wood, or chicken wire. Place your chosen material along your decking in the space between the boards and the ground. While you’re at it, make sure your decking is also completely sealed; this way, pests won’t be able to pass through any gaps. If your decking doesn’t look as good after you’ve done this, fear not. Simply place a pretty trellis panel or screen in front of the material and it will appear far less prominent. You can then add some colorful potted flowers around your decking to further distract from the material.
Keep it dry
Whereas composite decking is resistant to rot, mold, and, consequently, pests, wooden decking can attract critters like carpenter ants and termites. So, to prevent these pests, keep your decking as dry as possible. Put a waterproof cover over furniture like tables and chairs, as well as seal the wood with a protective varnish. If you notice signs of pests, contact a pest control professional to eradicate the problem and restore your deck. Mud tubes in nearby mud or wood, or a thin, sandy gray-brown film left on your decking, for example, are telltale signs of a termite infestation. On the other hand, sawdust, wood shavings, and moist and/or rotten wood can be a sign of a carpenter ant infestation.
Don’t let pesky pests ruin your garden decking. By taking care to keep your decking clean and dry, as well as sealing access points, you can successfully pest-proof your decking with minimal hassle.