Warm spring likely reason for outbreak
It’s not a full-fledged invasion but the rodents are rummaging through garbage and even entering improperly secured green bins, says David Saunders, owner of Paramount Pest Control.
“I can find rats … in many residential backyards all through Ottawa so it’s just not Confederation Park,” says Saunders, who has been in the pest control business for 21 years.
“People have this problem in their backyards, under their doorsteps and behind their garden sheds. When people feed birds and the bird seed falls to the ground it attracts a lot of rodents,” he says.
Saunders says his company has had its busiest year responding to rats and insect control calls. He suspects the outbreak is largely attributed to the warm spring the region experienced.
“This is the worst I’ve seen for rats in Ottawa, especially in residential areas,” he says.
National Capital Commission officials have resorted to calling in an exterminator to control rats spotted scurrying through Confederation Park, located at Elgin Street and Laurier Avenue, near the National Arts Centre and across the street from City Hall.
Eight poison-filled bait traps have been placed in the park. The traps read “rodenticide, do not touch.”
NCC spokesman Jean Wolff said this is the first time the Commission has experienced a rat problem at the downtown park. He said the traps seem to be working.
“The first indication is that we’re on the right track because in the last few weeks there has been fewer sightings of rats. But we hope to get the situation under control,” said Wolff.
The traps will be in place until the end of November, he said.
Wolff said he’s hoping the public will co-operate by properly disposing of trash in the park’s litter bins.
A warmer spring definitely led to a longer breeding season for the city’s rat population, says Saunders.
“Whenever you have a better food supply and a longer season all rodents and all insects tend to do better,” he says
Saunders says the region’s growing population and increased construction in the downtown core are also factors that contribute to more rats. He says rats are also getting into green bins because homeowners often forget to secure the lid.
“I don’t know how many customers’ homes I’ve gone to with a rat problem where they’ve got inside. If you can put your pinky finger in the bin then a rat is also able to pry his nose in and get inside,” he says.
Saunders says sloppy habits cause rat control problems. He says proper disposal of trash works.