Kelowna's rat boom sparks concerns

The rapidly growing rat population in Kelowna, B.C., has the city asking residents to do their part to stop the problem from multiplying.

The city is asking residents to take steps to combat the problem

Rats are a growing concern in Kelowna and around the Okanagan. (CBC)

The rapidly growing rat population in Kelowna, B.C., has the city asking residents to do their part to stop the problem from multiplying.

Blair Stewart, urban forestry manager with the Ciy of Kelowna says rat-related calls have increased in the last two or three years, and that once "the rat is out of the bag" an infestation is hard to manage.

"Obviously the population has increased enough to start being noticed by more areas in the city of Kelowna, " he said. 

"The best control is for people to keep their garbage and yards clean, and ensure that compost is out of the reach of rats, or consider burying it."

Stewart adds property owners should also look at abandoned buildings because rats will move in and reproduce quickly, especially if there's nothing to stop them. A pair of rats can produce up to 50 offspring in a year.

People are advised to used snap traps instead of poison because there's no way to control other animals from eating the poison. Some Kelowna hardware stores have reported selling out of snap traps.

Matthew Wright of Orkin pest control in Kelowna says he gets about 15 calls a week on rats

"There's a lot of activity outside right now and that's creating a lot of panic," he told CBC. "People are wanting to get rid of them because they are a new pest."

Stewart will be making a presentation to Kelowna city council Monday outlining a plan to deal with the rodents.

Rat infestations have also been reported in Summerland, Penticton and Vernon. 

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