Pest Control

Please note that as of December 31, 2011, the City of Penticton no longer facilitates a rat control program. We offer the following information as outlined in the attached brochure and suggest that for further advice on pest control that you contact a local pest control company listed in the yellow pages of the telephone directory.

Additional copies of this information are available in brochure form from City Hall or the City Yards office.

2012 Rat Brochure.pdf [PDF - 659 KB]

Prevention

Exclude Them

Make sure that the building is in good repair. Fill or block all openings with durable materials, such as concrete and lumber, and use heavy, welded wire mesh to cover any vents, conduits, drains or other openings that cannot be blocked.

Be persistent in inspecting and repairing entry points that can be reopened by gnawing rats.

Remove potential hiding places near the house: don't stack firewood, garden supplies, equipment, etc., beside the house; thin or remove dense vegetation around the foundation.

Remove Food and Water Sources

Store cereals and dry food in glass or metal containers and keep pet food and bird seed in sturdy, covered bins.

Stored fresh food, such as fruit that is often kept in the garden shed or back porch, is very attractive to rodents. If possible, store produce in a refrigerator or a secure room that has heavy wire screen on any vents open to the outdoors.

Compost kitchen waste in closed bins, such as the thick, black plastic compost bins available commercially, or in other heavy, closed containers. To be rat-proof, a home made bin must be built of wooden planks and heavy ½” welded wire mesh (not chicken wire, which rats easily chew and which mice easily pass through). Do not put meat scraps or bones in the compost bin.

Store outdoor garbage in tightly closed, metal containers.

Make sure bird feeders are well away from the house and that the feeder prevents excessive seed from spilling onto the ground. This is very attractive to rats, which will also gnaw into a bird feeder if they can reach it. Stop them from climbing bird feeder poles by placing a wide metal collar on the pole.

Repair any leaking plumbing, indoors or out, to remove a water supply. Norway rats, in particular, need a great deal of water and sometimes learn to chew into irrigation lines and garden hoses.

Controls

Take great care to ensure that native species are not harmed by control methods. Most native species cause little or no damage; therefore it is essential to identify problem rodents before deciding on controls. If in doubt, use a live trap, which allows you to identify the animal and release it if desired. Most people should be able to control an occasional infestation of house mice, black or Norway rats. A serious problem, however, may require assistance from a professional pest control operator.

Traps

Snap traps are sold in every hardware store. Small traps are available for mice, larger ones for rats. When baited and set properly, these are very effective and kill the offending animal instantly. Although it is unpleasant to deal with a dead mouse, it is a swift, humane end compared with the fate of a poisoned rodent, which may take several days to die. Set snap traps at right angles along walls where the rodents are known to travel, with the bait side of the trap toward the wall. A couple of well-placed traps will suffice for a mouse or two, but for larger populations, you may need to place traps every metre or along walls and mouse routes. An excellent bait is a piece of dried fruit, which should be tied to the pedal with thread to make sure that the rodent trips the trap when it moves the bait. Other baits, peanut butter smeared on the top and bottom of the bait pedal, a mixture of peanut butter and oats, cheese, marshmallows, even onions, or any other food that the animals have been nibbling. Be sure to secure the bait to the trap, for if it is easily removed, the pedal may not be disturbed sufficiently to trip the spring action of the bail. Rats are cautious about new things in their environment so it is a good idea to leave the baited, but not set, trap in place for several nights before setting it.

Wear gloves or use a plastic bag as a glove to handle the trap and the dead animal, which should be wrapped in plastic and put in the garbage. If the captured animal isn't dead (very rare) use a shovel to pick up the trap and drop it into a bucket of soapy water to drown the animal. The traps are reusable; used traps are more attractive to mice than new ones.

Live traps are also available and very effective. They are expensive, but do not need to be reset to continue catching mice. If using a live trap appeals to you because it seems more humane, consider what you will do with the live mice you have trapped. Mice quickly die of stress and exposure if they are held in live traps for long without food or water. If you intend to release them, check the trap at least daily. Mice in a live trap at least daily. Mice in a live trap can also be killed by submerging the trap in soapy water.

Biological control: Many cats are naturally excellent mousers, but not all cats are interested in catching mice. Some cats do catch rats, but a cornered adult rat can seriously injure a cat. Cats are most effective if they have access to the enclosed areas where the mice are living, such as an attic or crawl space.

Poison: Although the most common rodent control is to use poisoned baits, this should be considered only as a last resort, if other methods fail. Putting out poison baits exposes children, pets and wild animals to the risk of poisoning from most compounds, whether they eat the bait or just handle it. A poisoned rodent often crawls away to die in an inaccessible place in the house. As it composes, it may smell and the decaying carcass frequently hosts an infestation of fly maggots, carpet beetles or other pests. Even if the bait is correctly placed in accessible locations, there is also the risk of secondary poisoning to pets or wild animals that may catch an ill and dying rodent after it has eaten the bait.

The most common baits contain anticoagulants, which mean they prevent blood from clotting. The rodent dies from internal bleeding. Some anticoagulants, such as brodifacoum and bromadiolone, act after a single dose. Others, such warfarin, require multiple doses. In areas where warfarin has been used extensively particularly in cities, it is useless because rat populations have become resistant to it. These baits present a moderate to high risk of secondary poisoning to other animals that might eat the poisoned rat. Products containing cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), however, present a lower risk to other animals. This compound kills by vitamin D overdose after 3-4 days, which mobilizes excessive amounts of calcium in the blood. It is the least hazardous of the rodent poisons for domestic use and least risky to other animals if they catch a poisoned rodent. No matter what poison is used, it must be placed in areas absolutely inaccessible to children, pets or other animals, preferably in tamper-proof bait stations. Bait stations are plastic or metal boxes with a compartment inside for the bait and lids that are secured with a screw or key to prevent children from opening them. The rodents can get to the bait compartment through small holes in the end of the box, but larger animals are excluded.

Never scatter poison baits over the ground or inside a building (this is dangerous and illegal). When using any bait, always read the label and follow the directions. For a larger scale baiting program, consult a licensed pest control operator for assistance. Once the pests have been eliminated, dispose of the bait stations, preferably at a household hazardous waste collection depot. If this is not possible, double wrap them in plastic and put them in the garbage. Be sure to repair or seal any access points to prevent a new invasion of pests.

Ultrasound Repellers

There are several devices on the market that emit ultrasound waves to repel rodents. Although rodents will avoid the area initially, they apparently get used to the sound and learn that there is no harm associated with it. The repellers are expensive and seem to be effective only over small areas for a limited time. They are usually not cost effective co