MONCTON, N.B. -- It's a listing most cities would be happy to avoid, but pest control company Orkin Canada says Moncton is #1 on the list of Maritime cities for rats.

For some, it’s a good time to be in the pest control business.

"We’ve been swamped with rodent calls over the last few months and it’s not normal," said pest control expert Sean Rollo.

A study by Orkin carried out between July 1, 2019 and June 30 of this year shows the pest control company responded to more calls in Moncton than in any other city in the Maritimes. Halifax, Saint John, Dartmouth, and Charlottetown rounded out the top five.

"Usually, you associate high rodent populations with port cities like a St. John’s, Halifax or Vancouver," Rollo said. "Moncton isn’t a port city, so it is a little bit abnormal to be seeing it quite so high."

Rollo points to the pandemic as one of the potential reasons for the rise in the rat population.

"Businesses closing down, or maybe not as much food scraps being put outside, or people just being home and noticing them more," Rollo said.

Another reason for the rodent surge could be the construction surge. A record number of building permits have been issued over the last year.

"A lot of that machinery shakes that ground pretty hard and 200, 300, 400 metres away, it may be disturbing some nests or populations that are there and they get frightened and scatter somewhere else," Rollo said.

And it seems they’re scattering into residential areas of the city.

Rollo says where there’s one, there’s often many and with rodents comes disease.

"Mice especially, they urinate a lot as they run a long, they are kind of like that scared little dog and a piddle as they go and so you might not see that," Rollo said. "It’s like micro droplets so there could be a lot of urine, there’s feces there’s dander and fur and a lot of other contaminants."

Rollo suggests keeping the area around bird feeders clean and to avoid putting pet food outside because rodents love an easy meal.