Urban rats have become increasingly successful at surviving and reproducing throughout our region causing concern for both area residents and businesses. Management of pest populations remains a responsibility of property owners.
Before implementing a control method, the best action to take is to determine what is attracting the rats and either remove or secure that source. Despite best efforts, property owners may find it necessary to reduce the population on your property.
Highlanders should look to incorporate humane methods of controlling the rodent population that is also safe for wildlife, children, and pets. Spring traps are the most humane and safe option, but they should be kept in a secure box or inside a wall to ensure that wildlife, pets, and humans aren’t accidentally snapped. Glue traps, poisons, and other home remedies do not meet humane standards for pest control. Rat poison acts by causing internal bleeding resulting in rats becoming extremely thirsty. When they seek water out in the open they can be consumed by predators resulting in negative impacts to wildlife.
Using fewer rodenticides (rat poison) helps to protect local wildlife that can be inadvertently poisoned from consuming a poisoned rat. Many products advise that they do not contain sufficient quantities of poison to effect non-target wildlife, however research indicates that poison can accumulate in the predator’s body resulting in accidental death of wildlife such as owls, hawks, small birds, earthworms, coyotes, and sometimes even cougars. Accidental poisoning of wildlife can cause rat populations to grow because the number of local predators decrease that would normally help to naturally manage their population size.
Rodenticides also pose additional risks for pets and children to be accidentally poisoned.
For more information on safe, humane and wild-life friendly methods of rodent control, please visit:
Regulation of Rodenticides
Under the current provincial legislation, the District of Highlands cannot regulate or prohibit the sales or use of rodenticides. The District can raise awareness about the harmful impacts of using rodenticides and demonstrate leadership by not using these methods to control pests on municipally-owned property. At a meeting held February 16, 2021, Council supported a request to write to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to ask that a province-wide ban on rodenticide use be introduced.