Got rats? The B.C. SPCA has some tips on how to keep them away | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Got rats? The B.C. SPCA has some tips on how to keep them away


Rats used to be far from B.C. but they've made their way into the Thompson-Okanagan and each year they get more problematic.

A press release the B.C. SPCA says the most effective and humane way to solve rodent problems is prevention because it minimizes the use of rodenticides.

"These poisons cause rodents to suffer slow and painful deaths and risk the lives of predators like owls that feed on them," the SPCA says, in the release. "Other animals like squirrels, birds and even your pets can eat poisoned bait by mistake and suffer the same slow and painful death."

Prevention tackles the root problem and breaks the cycle of temporary fixes and returning unwelcomed guests.

The first thing is to take away whatever it is that brings the creatures to your door.

"Rodents are drawn to areas with abundant food and shelter," the release reads. "Around the exterior of buildings, remove items that are stacked close to the building foundations. Trim and thin out plantings, remove debris and consider eliminating some plants. Don’t provide convenient hiding spots close to your house."

In your yard, laneway, carport or balcony, secure garbage and compost, keep people and pet food indoors, and clean up any fallen fruit or spilled birdseed.

If rodents have already entered your home, minimize attractants inside.

"Keep food inside glass, metal or plastic containers, in secure drawers or cupboards, or in the fridge. Pet food can be a buffet for rodents so rethink where and how to feed your furry family members. Store food waste in secure bins or the freezer until it is time for your green waste pick up," the SPCA said.

Once you have everything packed away, make sure that there's no easy way for rodents to enter your space.

The SPCA recommends walking around the exterior of your home and examining your balcony if in an apartment.

"Scan up to the roofline as rodents are excellent climbers. Can you see any gaps, open vents, or other potential points of access? Remember, mice can enter a home through holes as small as a dime," the SPCA said.

"Next, examine the interior of your home searching for where rodents might enter. Pull out large appliances from the wall, move boxes and furniture out from walls and open cupboards. Carefully examine where pipes or wires come through drywall as this is a common point of entry. Look for holes, rodent droppings (small rice size is a mouse, almond size is a rat), and any signs of gnawed wood, wire or insulation. You may need a flashlight."

To rodent-proof, you will need to close off all the points of access that you identified.

"Use rodent exclusion materials like heavy-gauge wire screening to cover holes, metal mesh to stuff into holes around pipes, and expanding foam sealant to spray overtop of metal mesh and fill other gaps and cracks," the SPCA said. "Seal all potential entry holes or gaps in walls, foundations, sheds, crawl spaces and under porches. If needed, consider installing door sweeps to remove access through spaces underneath doors. Use vent covers where needed."

If the work is extensive and involves lots of ladder climbing, it may be best to hire a rodent-proofing professional. 

Finally, be prepared to maintain.

Rodents have large, strong front teeth built for gnawing that can chew through almost anything, including metal. That’s why the last step in keeping your home rodent-proofed is to regularly check for signs of renewed rodent activity and make repairs promptly.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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