Numerous complaints from Sicamous residents regarding the escalating population of rats and other rodents have prompted the district to look into pest control options.
“I would say we have seen an exponential increase in the rodent population in the last year,” said Sicamous native Paige Mounce, who has lived at her Green Road residence for the past seven years. “I’ve never seen a rat on our farm property until last winter, and then from that point on it has gotten worse.
“We are catching three to four a night (mice and rats) in live traps, and finding dead or sick ones throughout the property.”
At its Oct. 14 meeting, District of Sicamous council directed staff to draft a bylaw to address the matter. The request came in response to a report from staff that explained the district has received numerous complaints regarding the increasing rodent population.
“The operations department confirms that rodent and pest control has required increased resources to manage, and current operations include trapping and destroying without the use of chemicals,” reads the report. It goes on to say if a resident reports a rat problem, the district asks for photos if possible to review if the rodent is an invasive species.
In response to the increase in rodent numbers, the district had pest control company Orkin Canada prepare a proposal that involves non-chemical and, if necessary, chemical treatment options. The proposal includes inspections and the provision of recommendations for mitigating issues that may promote pest problems throughout the community.
Mounce said the district should have taken action sooner, and is adamantly opposed to chemical options, noting the can be dangerous to pets and wildlife.
“We all have animals that eat these rodents and get sick as well,” Mounce explained in a Facebook post. “The district needs to start getting a handle on the rodents without using poison before more pets get hurt.
“We are setting live traps in our barns and yard to discourage our poultry from munching on these critters…, but we need people to think before using poison. Please!”
The district is also looking at mitigation steps involving private property owners. Staff offered to research and prepare a bylaw regulating pesticide use, with provisions on chemical treatment for pest and rodent control. Also suggested was increased enforcement of the district’s Unsightly Premises Bylaw, to ensure rubbish and waste – attractants to rodents – are not accumulating on properties.
“If the bylaw enforcement officer finds a property deemed unsightly creating too much habitat for rodents and things like that, they can ask the property owner to come in compliance and clean up their yard,” said district communications and public affairs officer Amanda Passmore, noting fines are a possible outcome for those not in compliance.
“We’re very much more proactive, we don’t like ticketing people, we don’t like incurring fines on anyone,” said Passmore. “There would definitely be an education campaign on how people can prevent rodents on their property in the area.”
Sicamous residents are not alone in having to contend with rat populations. Rats have been a problem in Revelstoke and Vernon for several years and over the past few years have been a growing problem for residents in Chase and Salmon Arm. In response, the City of Salmon Arm posted an information page to its website on rodent management.
According to Orkin Canada, Kelowna and Vernon were among the 20 “rattiest” cities in B.C., based on the number of treatments the company performed between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.
The full list is as follows:
1) Vancouver, 2) Victoria, 3) Burnaby, 4) Richmond, 5) Surrey, 6) Kelowna, 7) Langley, 8) North Vancouver, 9) Coquitlam, 10) Abbotsford, 11) Vernon, 12) Delta, 13) Port Coquitlam, 14) Duncan, 15) Chilliwack, 16) Sidney, 17) Nanaimo, 18) Maple Ridge, 19) Terrace, 20) Powell River.