Program designed to stop and contain the flow of rats into the city.
The City of Medicine Hat commenced Operation Haystack today to provide any potential rat within the City hospitable surroundings to enable effective extermination.
A total of 15 haystacks will be distributed throughout the city. This proactive approach will see stacks of five to eight round green feed bales set up with bait stations located in the center. Solid Waste Manager Ed Jollymore said these provide the ideal location for rats to nest. "What we are looking at is providing the rats with high-end, first rate accomodation, with food, water and shelter," he said. "Rats require those three things."
Operation Haystack is the next proactive step the City is taking in the battle with the established rat colony at the Landfill and the single sightings within the city. Single sightings in other areas have precipitated this move to stop and contain any flow that might exist. However, Jollymore said this is a fight that is not going to be solved anytime soon. "This is going to be a process of years," he said. "We anticipate it will take about two months to eradicate this nest. However, they have a tendency to come back, pop up, so we are going to have to be on a heightened alert for two years."
All locations of "Operation Haystack” will be highly visible, well signed and will present no danger to other animals.
Jollymore added that the so-called "rat-free" status that Alberta has enjoyed since 1952, is not actually a fact. "Just because we say we are 'rat-free' doesn't necessarily mean we are," he said. "Rats don't respect borders. They will hop off of trucks, trains, cars, and RV's. We had a major flood here in 2010, which could have brought rats in from all areas."
Municipal Bylaw officers are on high priority to respond to rat reports and will notify ARD of all complaints. Residents are urged to report any suspected rat activity by calling 310.FARM (3276) or the Medicine Hat Bylaw office at 403.529.8481. If a dead rat is discovered on their property, residents can call KP Pest Control at 403.529.5931 for disposal.
(Kevin Pedersen of KP Pest Control sets trap inside one of the haystacks)
(Story by: Greg Garbutt, with information from City of Medicine Hat)