Mild winter, construction to blame for spike of Halifax-area rat population
Many people in the Halifax Regional Municipality say they're fed-up with rodents, even though there’s not much they can do about the problem.
Pest control experts say the mild fall and winter is likely the culprit, along with some construction.
Rats were able to have their litters earlier, which mean there's about three generations of rats roaming the streets.
"Overall it's a busy year for rodents, both in the yard and entering people's homes,” says pest control expert Andrew Wheelock. "The most important thing you can do to your home is make sure that it's secure."
Some residents in Cole Harbour saw rats scurrying around the past couple weeks.
"We noticed they ran into a cluster of bushes. The next day I was opening a window and I saw another one scurry in, so I said you know, this is getting a little out of hand,” says homeowner Tina Sutton-Savage.
Because of the larger population this year, experts say there's about 50 to 70 rats living on every block in towns and cities around the Maritimes.
"We were always going through Halifax Water and putting a request in to bait the sewers to lure them back down there,” says HRM councillor Lorelei Nicoll. “I guess that practice has ceased, so that's something that's of a big concern to me."
Officials with Halifax Water say the sewers are only baited if the water commission is working on a project that will disturb rats in the area.
However, the municipality is baiting locations where higher populations of rats have been found.
"We have been increasing our baiting program on municipal property,” says HRM communication advisor Tiffany Chase. “If you are seeing those rodents on private property, you are responsible as a property owner to set your own traps and we do encourage you to do so."
The city also says they have crews monitoring traps a couple times a day, and any residentswho may have any rodent concerns to call 311.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Suzette Belliveau.