Thunder Bay pest control experts getting 'a lot more calls' about rats
'They certainly are on the upswing,' says one pest control specialist
Pest control experts in Thunder Bay, Ont. say the rat population in the city is on the rise.
"The last year and half the calls for the Norway rat [have] tripled," said Doug Rondeau, the senior technician with Canadian Pest Control in Thunder Bay.
"Three years ago, we would get maybe one or two calls per month ... now it's four or five, possibly even six calls per day, so they certainly are on the upswing."
Rats are being spotted all over the city he said.
It's a trend that Bob Hoffman, who owns Natural Pest Control in Thunder Bay, has also noticed. Hoffman said he's received "a lot more calls" about rats this season, compared to previous years.
"Going back 40, 50 years ago there was a lot of rats in the city with the grain [elevators], and as the grain disappeared so did the rats," said Hoffman, "so there must be another food source the last few years."
Hoffman speculated that an increase in the pigeon population in the city, or even more backyard chickens could be contributing to the rise in the rat population by providing a food source of eggs, and that warmer weather might also be a factor.
Calls to the health unit on the rise
Health inspectors in Thunder Bay have also been receiving more calls and complaints about rats over the last several years, said Lee Sieswerda, the manager of environmental health at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, adding that the unit is sometimes asked to intervene on behalf of tenants.
"We consider rats to be a health hazard," he said. "so if someone calls to complain about it, we have the power to issue an order to the owner of a premises to bring in professional pest control."
To prevent a rat infestation, it's important to block off access to any food source, and block holes where the rodents might enter a building.
Restaurants with rodent infestations are not allowed to operate, he said.
When it comes to private residences, both Hoffman and Rondeau recommend calling professionals for help with a rat problem.