Can Lavender Really Keep Rats From Invading Your Home And Garden?

If you're hearing something racing through the walls or have found droppings around the house, it could be a rat that's found a way into your space. Rats are noted for their ability to thrive outdoors, turning any garden or flowerbed into their hunting and munching ground. However, if you're looking for a way to keep rats from invading your home, the scent of lavender could be exactly what you need. Keep in mind that if you have a large infestation of rats in your home, lavender may be ineffective as a full-blown treatment. For that, a professional exterminator may be a good idea since rats tend to carry diseases that can make even humans ill. If, on the other hand, you've simply seen them near your home, using lavender in key locations could persuade them to hurry on out.

Lavender has a strong, floral scent. For many people, it's noted to be a scent that helps with relaxation and stress relief, but for most rodents, it's unpleasant — so much so that the rats are likely not to go toward any location where they can smell it. In other words, using lavender in your home or garden could be one of the simplest and most natural ways to repel these rodents

Why rats don't like lavender

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has a distinct scent that is often pungent, but slightly sweet smelling. The scent comes from linalool, a compound found in the plant that gives it its stress-busting benefit in humans. The plant also contains terpenoids, which help to create that smell. In fact, the terpenoids are one of the plant's defense mechanisms, as it works to attract pollinators to keep the species alive. At the same time, it also works to deter pests, like deer, from munching on it. As with those deer, rats have no interest in the smell produced by this herb, which means it can help you protect your home.

A rat's olfactory abilities are rather good, meaning they can be very sensitive to strong scents like this. Rats need their sense of smell to find food sources and mates, while also using it to help detect the presence of a predator. With lavender, the strong scent is not only unappealing to them, but it also masks the other scents rats need to pick up on, including food sources. Instead of pursuing that area, the ever-on-the-move rat will simply go in the other direction.

How to use lavender to keep rats out of your home

You can turn lavender into a pest repellent in several ways, depending on where the risk is. If you just want to get a layer of protection in your garden or flowerbeds, one of the best options is to simply plant lavender. This herb needs full sun and fertile soil, and you can spread them out every 1 to 3 feet to create a border around areas of your yard where you want to ward off rodents. If you don't want to dedicate the time to growing lavender in your garden, you can purchase sprigs of the plant to place in various locations. With this latter method, just be aware that the sprigs may blow away. To avoid this, place them in mesh bags and use a stake to keep them in place.

You can also create a lavender spray to spritz around high-risk areas in your home, such as those places where you've seen rodent activity in or near openings to the outdoors. Use it, for example, near a crack in the chimney until you can get it fully repaired. To do this, you'll need to purchase an essential oil spray or make your own using a few drops of lavender essential oil in a clean spray bottle filled with water. You can also use a bit of that oil on a cloth and place it in key areas of risk.