John at Orkin has provided the following list of suggestions based on his experience on the West Bench so far:
I think educating property owners on their role in keep pest populations in check is very important. I have listed several things, I believe to be critical factors for rat population control:
I hope these pointers are useful.
1.) Open composting. This is a common practice I have noticed,especially in the larger properties in the Westbench. These provide unlimited food supply for rats year round. I highly recommend switching to rat proof composters or not composting at all.
2.) Piling up of tree clippings, grass and wood piles. These provide perfect rat harbourage and breeding sites. I have noticed several property owners using the banks and around the Kettle Valley trestle areas to discard brush , and grass clippings. This should not be done. Large brush piles should be either removed to a proper chipping facility or burned, if allowed. Wood piles should be stored ideally off the ground. Or should be removed if they are not going to use it for burning. I have noticed some huge wood piles of wood that has been standing for may years.
3.) Thick overgrown ground cover and vines. Provide, again, excellent harbourage for rats. These should be thinned out along bases as much as possible. Thick coverage around homes should be cut back away from house.
4.) Fruit and nut trees. Unless a home owner is going to use the fruit and nuts, these should be removed. Otherwise, ensure any fallen fruit is removed promptly and ripe fruit picked quickly also. Fruit trees and nut trees provide rats with a great seasonal abundance of food.
5.) Old out building and shed. These should be well sealed and as rat proof as possible. If they are in rough shape, they should be replaced
6.) Do not feed pets outside or leave pet food out over night. This include bird feeders. Some homeowners throw brid seed into bushes to feed quails and this practice feeds the rats well also.
7.) Prune any branches away from the house.
8.) Seal all gaps over 3/4 inch so rats can't enter homes. Pay particular attention to roof areas, garage doors and flashing. Ensure crawlspace vents are sealed with 1/4 inch chicken wire.
9.) Home owners should use rat traps in secure and safe areas to catch rats. Traps should not be exposed where children, pets or non- target organisms can reach them. This also applies to the use of rodenticides. Extreme care must be used to prevent children or dogs from getting at the rodenticide bait. I recommend using only special tamper resistant boxes. Property owners must NOT throw bait into shrubbery or open exposed areas. This is illegal and they can be held liable if there is a child,dog, or non- target animal poisoned. I have seen a few incidences of this.