Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Control of rats in vegetable gardens
Recognize the problem
Gardens are affected by
vegetable-eating rats. Rats are small rodents of about 10 to 20 cm, with brown
or grey fur. The presence of rats is noticed when chewed vegetables are found
showing teeth marks. Rats particularly like tomatoes, rape and cabbage heads. This
results in low yields and poor quality vegetables. The rats can sometimes also
Rats are clever and difficult to control. They multiply fast so numbers
of rats can increase quickly. Therefore, you may need to act in a number of different
ways including the use of chemicals and rat-eating animals.
to reduce the number of rats because they hunt rats at night. The cats need
to be kept hungry in order for them to be effective hunters.
- In extreme cases, use rat poisons called
rodenticides. One such poison is Indometacin (e.g. Indocin) which comes
as capsules that need to be opened. Sprinkle some product powder onto a rat
attracting bait, such as dried kapenta fish or tomatoes. The fish or tomatoes are
cut into pieces. The rat food is then put onto a small plate that is filled
with water. Each plate is put at a distance of 10 m apart where the rats are
likely to pass at night. Mark each bait-plate that it is poisonous, and hide
the plates from view so that rats can get to it but no humans will touch it. The
type of bait needs to be changed every 2 weeks as the rats will stop eating the
familiar bait. Once the rats eat the bait and drink the water around the bait, they
die, and can be collected the following day and buried safely. Please do not use other killing
agents, such as permanganate or zinc phoshide (also called Rato). They are very
dangerous to you and others.
When using a pesticide, always wear protective clothing and follow the instructions on the product label, such as dosage, timing of application, and pre-harvest interval.
The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to:
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