If one of your neighbours tells you that they've seen a rat around your new compost bin, then you'll be worried that the bin has attracted it into your garden. You aren't sure what to do at this stage, but before you do anything else, it's worth making a few changes to your bin and how you use it to make it less of a draw.
What should you do?
1. Change the Bin's Location
People sometimes set up compost bins in corners of their gardens or by fences and sheds. While this keeps the bin out of the way, it does put it on a rat's radar.
Rats don't like being out in the open, so they're more likely to approach a bin from a safe place like behind a fence or a shed wall. If you put your bin on open ground, then the rat might stay away.
2. Use the Bin Regularly
Rats don't like being around people. They're more likely to approach a bin that is rarely used and left alone.
So, if you've been saving stuff up to put in the bin so that you only use it every now and then, start using it more regularly. If you don't have anything to put in the bin, then have a regular walk-by. Rattle the lid, kick the bin and just make your presence known.
3. Don't Put Attractive Food in the Bin
Some food waste attracts rats. Things like meat, fish, cheese and even eggshells are tasty to them; they also smell, which may alert the rat to a food source.
Stop putting this kind of waste in the bin for the time being. Adding a bit of water to the bin to make the compost wet may also deter rats. They like dry environments.
4. Add a Layer of Vermin Mesh
Rats can access compost bins from the base. If you can't put the bin on an inaccessible surface, like a concrete paver or slab, then buy some vermin mesh and use it to cover the bottom of the bin. This mesh is strong enough to withstand biting and dense enough to prevent rats from getting through.
Bear in mind that your compost bin probably didn't attract the rat into the area in the first place. It's probably been there for a while and has simply been seen because it's come out to the bin.
To solve the problem, contact a local pest control company. They can help you get rid of the rats once and for all.