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Rat problem at Port Moody school an example of Metro Vancouver’s growing pest problem

WATCH: A rat problem at a Port Moody elementary school is a sign of a growing problem. Linda Aylesworth reports.

Moody Elementary School in Port Moody was fumigated over the winter holidays, but the rodents are back and so are the traps that surround the school.

“We have a big problem with rats,” said Alicia Purvis of the school’s parent advisory committee. “They’re all over the place. They chew up the teachers’ books…they chew up the kids’ shoes.”

The school’s pest problems are an example of the boom in Metro Vancouver’s rat population.

“I think it’s been getting worse for about the past five to 10 years,” said Mike Londry of Westside Pest Control. “But the last three years specifically, we’ve seen a spike that just hasn’t gone down.”

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Many experts say recent mild winters mean more rats survive to do what they do best–make more rats.

“They can have up to a dozen offspring five times a year,” said Londry, who has seen his pest control business grow several-fold over the last three years. “It only take three months for a rat to reach maturity and have its own offspring.”

At Moody Elementary, Purvis found rat droppings in the school’s supply room.

As unpleasant as that sounds, rats can cause more serious problems. They can damage a structure’s wiring and insulation and then there is the potential health risk.

“They can harbour diseases and pass those along if we come in close contact with them, which most people wouldn’t,” said Londry.

What can be done? Pest control experts say we should make sure they don’t get inside in the first place, and if they do there is no shortage of experts available to help solve the problem.

“I’m anticipating a very busy rodent season come the end of the summer and early fall next year when they start to look for warm, cozy places to reside again,” said Londry.

-with files from Linda Aylesworth

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