Controlling varmints under a structure

Asked April 6, 2017, 12:02 PM EDT

We are re-habbing a small cabin (140 sq. ft.) on the back of our 1/3 acre in Garden Home. There is about 6" to a foot of clearance between the floor joists and the ground, and limited access around the edges. We would like to detract rats and other unwelcome beings from entering that space. Is there some material or ground cover that they don't like, that we could spread before the floor boards are replaced? My only other idea was to crumple up rolls of chicken wire and put it around the edges as a multi-layer barrier. I would appreciate any ideas or advice you can offer.

Washington County Oregon wildlife damage management human-wildlife issues

1 Response

What a fun project!

I am assuming that a cement foundation is not an option at this point and you are looking for some sort of air circulation under your cabin. I would not recommend using chicken wire as the holes are too big and rodents will be able to squeeze through. I would recommend putting a skirt around all four sides of the cabin out of heavy gauge hardware cloth. If you can, attach the top edge of the skirt about four inches up under the siding and secure well. The bottom of the skirt should go down to the ground and then come out a foot from the base making an 'L' shape (see attached drawing). Digging critters will usually go up to the skirt and try to dig at the base, only to get frustrated by running into the hardware cloth. They seldom figure out to back up a foot and start digging there.

If you do not like the look of the hardware cloth on the ground, feel free to cover it with mulch. Make sure to overlap the hardware cloth at the corners so as not to leave an access point.

For extra insurance, do not plant anything close to the cabin that the rats can hide in and inspect hardware cloth often for an attempted breach. Rats can chew through hardware cloth, however if there is no food or water under there, they probably will not want to go through all the work.

Good Luck.