Barclay Bench Neighbours Rat Reduction Project

Be Your Own Pied Piper

Summerland- A recently formed group of concerned citizens, Barclay Bench Neighbours, hosted a successful afternoon educational event targeted at rat reduction on April 9th.

Organizers Pati Hill, Sheryle and Nelson McGillis responded to the need for a community-based solution to reduce Summerland’s rat population with a successful application for a $500.00 Neighbourhood Small Grant funded by the Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen.

All residents of their neighbourhood of 95 homes were invited to gather, enjoy refreshments and learn ways to eradicate rats on their properties throughout the upcoming breeding season.

Homeowners are encouraged to eliminate key rat attractants such as food, water and shelter. Common food sources are uncontained garbage and compost bins, fallen fruit and nuts. Rats also find a year-round, high quality food source in the spillage from bird feeders. Birders are requested to feed only in winter and very early spring to reduce availability of this unintended food source.

The core group has assembled rat-trapping kits, which are being circulated through area yards on three week loans. Comprehensive trapping and sanitation tips are provided in print format along with encouragement and support from experienced members.

Sign Language, Growers Supply, Nesters Market and the Summerland and District Credit Union generously donated in-kind materials essential to the success of the Barclay Bench project.

The rat reduction project was also conceptualized to serve as a model for other Summerland neighbourhood organizations focused on diminishing the serious problems related to exponentially increasing rat populations. Any Summerland group interested in hosting a similar educational event is encouraged to contact Pati Hill weekdays during business hours at 250 494-0770.

We had excellent attendance and all of our trapping kits are loaned out and booked for use months in advance. Three elements stood out – many people acknowledge the rat problem, many others don’t want to acknowledge the existence of rats in their world, and the general lack of understanding of how rats live and how to reduce their populations. The most gratifying comment was from a homeowner who said that even though they have cats that hunt rats, they still want to do their part for the neighbourhood by participating in the trapping program.