Rats have now been spotted in Fairview, Uphill, and Lakeside, writes Dave White of WildSafeBC. File photo

COLUMN: Rat population making further inroads in Nelson

Dave White writes about how to control rats

By Dave White

The rat problem in Nelson continues to grow. Fairview is the area most affected, but they are spreading to other areas and have been seen at Lakeside area and Uphill. Backyard compost seems to be the biggest driver of the rat population, as they are most commonly seen around composters.

Rats can spread bacteria that cause disease in humans such as pneumonia, salmonella, rat bite fever and a variety of lesser known illnesses. The rat can also be a nuisance as it gnaws holes to get into buildings, causing damage. It also digs into gardens to get fruit, vegetables and even flower bulbs.

With a gestation period of three weeks and reaching sexually maturity in five weeks, a pair of rats can reproduce exponentially, creating up to a thousand or more descendants in a year. This makes eradication very difficult. Managing attractants is the best way to avoid the exponential growth.

Keep garbage secure, never put it out at night, and always use a rodent-proof container when putting it on the curb. Don’t leave pet food outside and don’t have a bird feeder, especially the type that distributes seeds. Manage compost by turning it regularly, adding dry grass or leaves, and buy or build a composter that does not allow rodents to access the contents. If you have rats, work with your neighbours to manage attractants in your neighbourhood.

RELATED: Rats! Rodents reported in Fairview area

Make sure you seal up any holes into your house using wire mesh and expanding foam. Rats and mice can gnaw through expanding foam used alone. Rats can squeeze though holes as small as a toonie.

Trapping rats on its own is not a solution — the underlying conditions that gave rise to the rat population in the first place should be addressed. If you still need to trap rats it is important that the trap be sufficiently strong to deliver a quick, killing blow to the animal and that the trap be set in such a way as to minimize the accidental trapping of other animals. Healthlink BC has some good solid information on trapping procedures and the safe handling and disposal of the dead animal: healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/getting-rid-rodents.

If you see or catch a rat, please take a photograph and send it along with any information you can provide to me by email: nelson@wildsafebc.com or call 250-505-6007. The information will be used to create a database of the distribution throughout the city, which will help us better understand where our educational services are needed.

WildSafeBC rat information can be found at https://wildsafebc.com/rats.

If you are experiencing a conflict with wildlife please call the Conservation Officer Service, RAPP Line at 1-877-952-7277.

Dave White is Nelson’s WildSafeBC co-ordinator.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New seniors care facility in Nelson to be built at Mount St. Francis site

Mount St. Francis hasn’t been in use since 2005

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

MP Morrison pushes for accountability following federal fiscal update

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian says it is time to restart the economy

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Haitian foster children arrive in Nelson after months-long lobbying effort

Marie-Paule Brisson and Sebastien De Marre have parented girls age 12 and 8 since they were babies

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

New comet appears in pre-dawn sky above Cranbrook

Neowise can be seen without a telescope over the next couple of weeks

Most Read