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Vancouver is rat central according to pest-control company

One researcher says she catches 15 rats a day within a 36-block area in Vancouver

Pest control calls for rats go up during the fall and spring, according to Orkin Canada.

Dreamstime/Contributed

Pest control calls for rats go up during the fall and spring, according to Orkin Canada.

Vancouver has the most number of rats in B.C., according to a pest control company and that’s no surprise, says one rat expert.

“Generally we find that where there is more construction, more population, older buildings, proximity to food, water, that’s where we generally see the most calls,” said Trine Butler, service manager for Orkin Canada’s Vancouver office.

Vancouver’s compost program could also be driving rat numbers up, the pest control manager said.

The pest control company, Orkin Canada, released the top B.C. cities for rats Wednesday based on the number of calls it receives in each municipality.

B.C. cities with most pest control calls for rats

1.     Vancouver

2.     Victoria

3.     Burnaby

4.     Richmond

5.     Surrey

Rats are flexible and can thrive wherever there are humans, said Kaylee Byers, a UBC researcher with the Vancouver Rat Project

“Really the thing that will drive rat population is human presence,” she said.

“They seem to thrive no matter what is available. They are really flexible with the resources they can use,” she said.

The project aims to collect samples from rats to keep tabs on population health and the diseases they may be carrying. Rats can carry MRSA, bartonella, and leptospira, all of which are transferrable to humans.

Researchers caught their 700th rat Wednesday since they started trapping rats in the Downtown Eastside in July. They catch an average of 15 rats a day, according to Byers.

That’s why it can be difficult to keep rats away, said Butler, who noted most of the calls to Orkin Canada are reactive rather than preventive. But the best method to keep rats away is to clean up the space around your home so that they don’t feel comfortable enough to stay, she said.

How to keep rats away

  • Seal off any entry points around your home (holes under sinks, cracks in walls)
  • Keep shrubbery trimmed at least one metre away from the side of your building
  • Keep organics bins closed and wipe residue from outside
  • Remove water sources (water buckets, puddles)
  • Keep your door closed (otherwise, rats can come in through the front door!) 

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