UNWELCOMED GUESTS

Rat calls keep ex­ter­mi­na­tors busy.

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY DAVID JALA david.jala@cb­post.com

It’s not easy be­ing a rat. Af­ter all, the furry ro­dent has been vil­i­fied for hun­dreds of years, has been blamed for the plague and its name used to la­bel in­for­mants who spill the beans.

In the 1931 film Taxi, Hol­ly­wood tough guy James Cag­ney ut­tered his fa­mous “you dirty rat” phrase that has be­come part of North Amer­i­can pop­u­lar cul­ture.

But the rat sur­vives — even here in Cape Bre­ton.

Ear­lier this week, Orkin Canada re­leased sta­tis­tics, based on the num­ber of calls it re­ceives, that showed Syd­ney as be­ing the ‘least rat­ti­est’ com­mu­nity in At­lantic Canada.

That claim has made the rat a pop­u­lar topic of con­ver­sa­tion. It even stirred up a bit of con­tro­versy given there is no ac­cu­rate way to de­ter­mine how many rats live in a cer­tain area.

Stephen McLaugh­lin, owner-op­er­a­tor of Syd­ney­based Cape Bre­ton Pest Con­trol, has been deal­ing with rats for al­most 40 years.

When it comes to rats, he says the past few years have been the busiest he’s seen.

“We’ve been full out, we get calls on them ev­ery day, peo­ple are say­ing they’re see­ing them run through their yard, I can’t keep up - we’ve been steady with them and it’s not just Syd­ney – it’s all over (Cape Bre­ton),” said McLaugh­lin.

“No one likes a rat – peo­ple can han­dle the word ‘mouse’, but they can’t han­dle the word ‘rat’, maybe be­cause they are big­ger and scarier.”

McLaugh­lin said rats are al­ways on the look­out for safe and warm places close to food sources. He be­lieves green bins are part of the prob­lem in that they at­tract rats. Once the ro­dents dis­cover an ideal lo­ca­tion, they are clever and re­source­ful when it comes to en­ter­ing houses, garages, barns, sheds, and un­der decks.

Like most ex­ter­mi­na­tors, McLauglin uses bait traps to lure rats into to a poi­soned food source. The traps are placed in strate­gic lo­ca­tions near garbage bins and dump­sters. How­ever, traps are not the only method of deal­ing with rats. Ul­tra­sonic de­vices are some­times used and the sound waves and vibrations they emit are not pleas­ant for rats and mice. But, they can adapt to the de­vices, so a multi-facet ap­proach, in­clud­ing pre­ven­tion, works best.

Peo­ple with sus­pected rat is­sues are en­cour­aged to be on the look­out for the crit­ters, to ro­dent-proof their homes and to make their res­i­dences less ap­peal­ing to the un­de­sired guests.

“No one likes a rat – peo­ple can han­dle the word ‘mouse’, but they can’t han­dle the word ‘rat’, maybe be­cause they are big­ger and scarier.”

Stephen McLaugh­lin, owner-op­er­a­tor of Syd­ney-based Cape Bre­ton Pest Con­trol

CAPE BRE­TON POST FILE

Rat traps are placed in strate­gic lo­ca­tions near garbage bins and dump­sters. Also, ul­tra­sonic de­vices are some­times used and the sound waves and vibrations they emit are not pleas­ant for ro­dents.

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