The same methods used to deter bears also work to keep rats away from South Okanagan properties.
Zoe Kirk, WildSafe B.C. community coordinator with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, said good attractant management techniques will keep unwanted animals — not just bears — away from properties.
Compost bins should be monitored and the compost should be watered, she said. Screening should be in place underneath the compost bins.
Without these measures, Kirk said rats will enter the bins and build nests in the dry materials.
For those who do home canning, Kirk suggests freezing the peelings and other waste food scraps before putting them into the composter, since this will allow them to compost more quickly.
By reducing the risk of rats, residents also reduce the risk of encounters with bears and other wildlife.
“When rats are on the property, so are bears,” Kirk said. “They’ll go after whatever is easy.”
For many years, Kirk has urged Summerland residents to take measures to prevent bear encounters. She has urged residents to put their garbage out on collection day, not the afternoon or evening before collection.
While some long-time residents continue to put out their garbage early, she said many newer residents are using more caution. Their actions are reducing the number of bear encounters.
“You can tell by the reduction in bear mortalities in our area,” she said.