KAMLOOPS — A rising rat population in the Kamloops area was noted by many residents last summer, and the problem hasn't gone away. Instead, it's moved indoors.
With the cold temperatures, rats are looking for a warm place to spend the winter, and many people are finding them inside their homes.
Local pest control companies say they haven't been this flooded with phone calls about the pesky rodents in years.
"Just actually from this time last year to now there's definitely been more population," said Bugs-Gon pest control technician, Alex Munro. "We've had more calls, and more people trying to call us to get more information about it. But definitely, for sure, it's been a huge problem for Kamloops."
Munro says he received around 15 new calls about rats last month.
"They're trying to get inside and find a nice warm place to be. They're looking out for other food sources that aren't outside anymore. During the summer there's usually lots of vegetation that they can eat, but you know, rats will almost eat anything."
They will chew through almost anything too, from bait boxes to dry wall and wiring.
As an HVAC Cleaning Technician with Power Vac, Mike Collings is the man responsible for cleaning up the rats' messes.
"I see it on a daily basis," Collings said, "a lot of their urine and feces scattered throughout under the home, in a crawl space, in the insulation, along the tops of ducts. I did a home on a ranch and it was just completely full, and the dust that was kicked up was just awful, it was just really unpleasant. You see them chewing the insulation. I pull out the dead bodies all the time as well."
While the rats found in B.C. don't carry rabies, Interior Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Trevor Corneil says there are still health risks involved when the rodents take up residence in your home.
"When we talk about interactions between rats and humans, our biggest concern is usually related to rat bites and the concerns related to infection," Corneil said.
Homeowners are encouraged to keep their houses well sealed to keep the rodents out.
While some areas of Kamloops have a worse rat problem than other, Munro says no neighbourhood is immune.
"We've gotten a lot more calls from Valleyview area, and it's been on the news before that that's been kind of a problem area, you know, Brock ... but I've been seeing them everywhere."
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