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She feels if people disposed of dead rodents found outside so they were inaccessible to predators, the

unintentional poisoning of those predators would decrease.


recommends the use of Integrated Pest

Management principles, including a focus on encouragement of raptors such as owls for rodent


Great Horned Owl with rodent prey, photographed near Oliver.

professional pest control specialist. Above all, rodenticides should not be the first line of defence. Instead, encourage raptors, which are natural enemies of rodents, to patrol your fields, and only use pesticides as a last resort.

Sofi Hindmarch is a Fraser Valley wildlife biologist who specializes in raptors and says since the 1990s, hundreds of raptor carcasses tested have had high concentrations of rodenticides in their systems. The health of barn owls are of particular concern because voles are a favoured part of their diet, but the lives of kestrels and falcons are also of concern, she adds.

Barn owls are currently being upgraded to threatened status in Western Canada.

In the Okanagan, no studies have been done in recent years to establish whether raptors are being put at risk in the same way from rodenticides, but B.C. Tree Fruit Co-op grower services manager Hank Markgraf, who has been in the orchard industry all his life here, says he is seeing more raptors around orchards than he did when he was younger, not fewer. He believes orchardists are using fewer rodenticides today than in years past.

Most orchards are kept clean, so there aren’t many hiding spots for moles. Pocket gophers live

underground and bait to control them is put under the ground as well, Markgraf notes.

Hindmarch is concerned that predators feeding on dead rodents are found consistently with residues of anti-coagulant rodenticides in their systems.


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It’s exciting in any language. The Hot Potatoes Rewards Program is back!

Every eligible purchase you make earns Hot Potatoes® reward

points that you can redeem for the popular group trip, cash or maybe even both. Just don’t forget to pack a Spanish-to-English dictionary and a muy grande sense of adventure! And check the website later this year to discover the final trip destination.

Learn more at or call 1 877-661-6665

Cuál es nuestro próximo destino?*

*Translation: Where are we going next?

control, instead of using pesticides, which can harm the very predators that could solve the problem. Examples of nest box installations and habitat enhancement for barn owls are available on the web at:


Here’s a link to the Pesticide Regulatory Agency list of where rodenticides are allowed to be applied depending on the active ingredient: content/uploads/2013/03/PMRA- New-Restriction-Rodenticides- eng.pdf

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2016



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