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Vernon  

Rats, rats everywhere

There is a growing rat problem in the North Okanagan, just ask Lesley Lemon.

The East Hill resident has spotted several rats on her property that were different sizes, suggesting they are from different litters, meaning there are a lot of breeding rats out there.

“I was sitting on my deck one night and a flipping huge adult rat nearly as big as my chihuahua comes out and looks at me. I stomped on the ground and it ran way,” she said. “I am seeing them along the wires at night, they are running along the fences, and now I am hearing them. They are chirping to each other.”

Lemon has been living in the same location for 28 years and she has never had rat problems before.

She saw the first rat on her property last fall.

“I never saw another one so I thought maybe it was rare, but I am hearing them under my deck this year,” she said. “I am seeing them. They are brave as hell.”

The rodents are moving north confirmed Orkin Manager, Mathew Wright.

“I would say in the North Okanagan the population is definitely growing,” said Wright. “It has been pretty steady in the North Okanagan. There is more up here than before.”

And the rodents are stopping here.

Wright said they are becoming a problem as far north as Revelstoke.

The Okanagan is a good breeding ground for rats due to an abundant food supply such as gardens and orchards.

The rats have made their way to the Interior from the Lower Mainland and once they have established themselves in an area, it is nearly impossible to get rid of them.

Lemon said she has reluctantly and very carefully placed poison around her yard.

She takes extra care to make sure domestic animals or non-rats don't come in contact with the poison.

She has already found six dead rats on her property, but she knows there are many more out there.

“In the last three months it is like there was an explosion. I have never seen a rat in my life and now I have seen dozens,” she said.

And aside from being a pest, they can cause lots of problems.

“They carry diseases. They can be pretty hard on your house, chewing water lines and flood your basement. They make small holes bigger by gnawing on them,” said Wright, adding they are also leave fecal matter wherever they go.

Here are a few tips to prevent rats from getting on your property:

  • Close the gap: Seal any cracks or holes in your foundation with weather-resistant sealant. Install weather stripping around windows and doors, as well as door sweeps.
  • Trim the trees: Landscaping can be a big-rodent attractant. Keep shrubbery cut back at least one meter from the exterior walls of your home to eliminate any hiding spots for rodents.
  • Cut off the water: Eliminate any moisture sources, necessary for pests’ survival, such as clogged gutters or water gathering in trash or recycling bins.

 



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