October 17, 2015 - 10:30 AM
KELOWNA - Rats were once unknown in the Okanagan but in recent years have suddenly become firmly established.
That’s the conclusion of urban forestry supervisor Blair Stewart in a report to Kelowna city council that says above all, rats are here to stay.
Stewart says black rats may have been accidently introduced and separate populations in the Central and South Okanagan have grown rapidly, with a steady increase in reports and service requests from residents.
In Kelowna, rat reports are most common in Glenmore, downtown, the Pandosy area and parts of Rutland, and have typically been the black or roof rat as it’s sometimes called.
Stewart says in his report there have been no confirmed sightings of the Norway rat, another common breed, but the Interior Heatlh Authority, in a separate letter from medical health officer Dr. Kamran Golmohammadi to Kelowna council, says the Norway rat has been found here.
Stewart says consultation with other governments and pest management experts show that public education and management of attractants goes a long way to reducing populations and are the recommended practise.
Poisoning rats is not recommended, with snap traps the prefered method for control.
According to the health authority, both types of rats can directly or indirectly transmit a lengthy list of diseases although most of them are rarely found in Canada’s rat population.
Plans are to send a rat control bulletin along with over 10,000 annual business license renewal letters to local companies in December.
Pest contol contractors have been hired to eliminate known infestations in city buildings and staff suggest rat control be brought up at the next Central Okanagan Regional District meeting.
They are also recommending a permanent rat control budget be established in the 2016 city budget and that private property owners should continue to be responsible for eliminating rat infestations on their own property.
Kelowna city council will consider the proposals at its regular council meeting at 1:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 19 in chambers at Kelowna City Hall.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015