Top tips and tricks for pest proofing your decking

When the sun is shining, we all love to sit in our gardens — but the last thing we want is for them to be infected with pests. Your garden decking makes the perfect home for a number of potential pests; especially during the harsher weather conditions.

In London, more than 100 rodent complaints are made every day. Although this doesn’t mean that you’re at risk, it’s worth making a few quick and simple preparations to stop potential pests from making your garden their homes. There are some actions that you can take to make sure that pests stay far away from your garden. We’ve teamed up with Arbordeck, plastic decking suppliers to find out more:

backyard deck chair

Remove attraction

Analyse your decking and take a look at what makes it attractive to insects. Pests, such as rats and mice, will scout out places before deciding on where to settle down, so try and make your decking as uninhabitable as possible.

Remember to remove any rubbish from your garden — we’ve all left leftovers outside after a family BBQ. If you have a get-together on your decking, make sure you thoroughly clear up and clean the decking so that no sauces or dropped food remain which could entice rodents and other critters.

Remember; rats, mice and hedgehogs will also eat birdfeed, so make sure to opt for a birdfeeder that isn’t placed on the floor or a table and put it away from your backyard deck.

If bushes and hedges aren’t properly trimmed, pests will look at this as a place of refuge. If your main pest problem is birds, movement is a great deterrent. Try hanging something that moves — like a wind chime or wind spinner — to help prevent birds from making a mess on your decking.

Close down on your decking

Blocking any entry points of your decking is essential. Pests won’t be able to make a home under your decked areas if they can’t get in to begin with, so investing in extra materials to create a barrier is worth it.

Living under decking is like living in a five-star hotel for pests. To stop this happening, use wood, mesh or chicken wire and run it along the entire edge of your decking between the boards and the ground. If you’re worried that this will ruin your decking’s aesthetic appeal, you can install a wooden trellis and have the mesh running behind it. Then, arrange potted plants or flowerbeds around your decking to mask the mesh further.

It’s important to remember that mice and rats can squeeze through small gaps, so you need to make sure any cover is strong enough to prevent this.

Seal the deal

Wooden garden furniture, including your decking is prone to woodworm. Unless you have composite decking that doesn’t rot, you might want to take steps to prevent this particularly unpopular garden pest.

The common furniture beetle is usually what people mean when they say ‘woodworm’, but the house longhorn and deathwatch beetles are far more destructive — although thankfully rarer.

To remove the risk of having woodworm, you must ensure that the space is kept dry. This might be difficult for large areas like your wooden deck, but your tables and chairs should be relatively safe under a waterproof cover. Sealing your wood with varnish is a good shout too. This creates a barrier that prevents female wood-boring beetles from laying eggs in the pores of the wood.

Already have infestation problems?

If you can see small holes across your decking and furnishings — these are usually in a cluster and often about 1mm wide — there might be woodworm present. Although this is treatable, you first need to identify which type of woodworm is doing the damage, so it might be worth seeking professional advice. Common furniture beetle problems can be treated yourself using products that you can buy online. However, if the culprits are house longhorn or deathwatch beetles, you may need to treat by injection.

Non-lethal traps

Pests are the last thing you need to worry about — but it is something that you should be worried about. If you already have pests in the garden and need help getting rid of them, you could consider using non-lethal traps or scent repellents.

Try dropping some spices and garlic herbs, pests hate it. Plant a peppermint tree around the edges of your decking or sprinkle cayenne around potential entry points to deter vermin from nesting. Of course, there are also plenty of commercial rat and mice repellents you can buy that will work to keep pests at bay.

If this does not work, try using some non-lethal traps to capture the pests. But forget cheese; sweet treats work best to lure mice. Place these around your decking and make sure to release the rodent at least one mile from your home once caught. If you prefer, buy an ultrasonic pest repellent. Compact and discreet, these devices are ideal for placing by your decking and emit high-frequency sound waves that rodents can’t stand — and we can’t hear.