Kamloops has risen in the rat rankings published by pest-control company Orkin — but the goal is to fall down the list.
Every year, Orkin Canada produces a list of its 20 rattiest cities in B.C. In 2018, Kamloops ranked 14th, six spots ahead of its 20th ranking in 2017.
What this means is the company was called to deal with more complaints about rats and mice in 2018 than in 2017.
The top five cities in B.C. for rodent calls have remained consistent during the past few years: Vancouver, Victoria, Burnaby, Richmond and Surrey. All are areas known for their mild winters and proximity to water, where rats are known to thrive.
Wright said the ranking drop for Kamloops is likely a sign of a small rat population.
When KTW spoke with then-WildSafe BC co-ordinator Frank Ritcey last spring, he said Orkin’s list should be taken with a grain of salt, but noted the rat population — from an anecdotal perspective — has increased dramatically in the past few years.
In 2017, Ritcey said, he received many reports of rats in Kamloops, all of which pertained to roof rats, which have a preference for ceilings.
WildSafe BC doesn’t track the number of reports it receives, but the organization is trying to reduce the rat population, having released a brochure on how to manage rat attractants.
”One of the big issues with trying to manage for rats is that most people’s yards are very porous,” Ritcey told KTW. “Even if you do everything right in your yard, if your neighbour has a great habitat for rats, they’re going to spill out from that yard into your yard,
Ritcey said it will take a community effort to keep the city’s rat population in check.
Rats were introduced to B.C. in the mid-1800s via boat traffic and found their way to Kamloops primarily via rides on transport trucks.
Rats have likely been in Kamloops for decades due to the trucking industry and rail lines bringing them here many years ago, while milder winters can see the rat population spike.
To keep the invasive species out, residents should seal cracks or holes in the foundations of their homes and keep shrubbery cut back at least a metre from the exterior walls to eliminate hiding places.
Rats are known to enjoy compost and bird feed, so Ritcey suggests storing compost in animal-resistant composters and turning it regularly.
He said bird feeders should be stored inside at night as rats are nocturnal.
Roof rats are known to devour gardens, consume and contaminate stored food and chew on materials, including insulation, siding and wiring, the latter which can result in an electrical fire.