Vancouver rat problem keeps pest control companies busy

Click to play video: 'Vancouver’s rat population is growing' Vancouver’s rat population is growing
WATCH: Vancouver's rat population is starting to boom, and pest control experts say the city needs to take action before it gets worse. Jennifer Palma reports – Jan 7, 2016

Metro Vancouver pest control companies say they’ve been seen a big jump in complaints about rats.

Mike Londry of Westside Pest Control says he’s seen a 10 per cent spike in so-called “rat jobs.”

“It really comes down to weather,” he said. “This one’s been a normal winter–but the last three previous were warm and dry. Rather than the populations going down in the winter and then back up in the summer, they were just spiking and spiking and spiking.”

Green Valley Pest Control has also seen an increase in business over the last year-and-a-half.

Caught on camera: Rat eats another rat (Warning: graphic content)

Click to play video: 'Caught on camera: Rat eats another rat (Warning: graphic content)' Caught on camera: Rat eats another rat (Warning: graphic content)
Caught on camera: Rat eats another rat (Warning: graphic content) – Jan 7, 2016

He says the damage rats can bring into your home can be devastating.

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“They had holes in the walls, they ate all the wiring, all the was absolutely amazing,” Londry said.

Rats can also pose a health risk. According to researchers at the Vancouver Rat Project, the rodents can pick up and pass along viruses and bacteria to humans.

MORE: Video shows rats running through YVR airport

They have studied 725 rats collected in the Downtown Eastside, but say the rodents can be found all around the city.

Dr. Chelsea Himsworth of the Vancouver Rat Project says the city needs to come up with a plan.

“We’ve become used to having what I would deem a fire-engine or an ambulance approach to rats…we wait until there’s a massive problem then we swoop in and deal with it and we do nothing to deal with the underlying problem,” she said.

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

“And I think in other jurisdictions they’re realizing that this is not the most effective or the most cost-efficient way to deal with it.”

Vancouver City Hall said no one was available to speak with Global News.

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However, they did say they are waiting for the 2015 rat complaint numbers to come in. In 2013, they had 81 rat complaints and 84 in 2014.

– With files from Jennifer Palma

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