RIVERVIEW, N.B. -- Many of us get some unwanted house guests that come to visit, but some residents of Riverview, N.B., have a bigger problem on their hands: rats -- and lots of them.

Jeff Melvin has lived in his Riverview home for four years and the presence of rodents isn’t something new.

"I anticipate each year that I’m going to have to get rid of one or two rats," Melvin said. "This summer, we’re up to 15, 16 rats already so this summer is pretty intense."

He’s tried everything to get rid of them.

"I’ve gone from everything from electric traps, to try to be the most humane, right through to snap-traps and damp-traps are what I have the best success with."

Officials with the town of Riverview say they have had an increase in the number of rat reports recently but a rodent problem on private property is not the town’s responsibility.

"We leave it up to the homeowner to make sure their properties do not provide the things that a rat would look for which is food, shelter and water," said Annette Crummey, Riverview's corporate services director.

Still, the town has consulted with a pest control company for advice on dealing with the unwanted rodents.

"They need to be diligent with their food and make sure it’s kept inside garbage cans with tight-fitting lids," said Sean Rollo, a pest control expert in Moncton. "Don’t put the garbage out until the morning of collection. Stay on top of any maintenance that needs to be done in and around the home."

Rollo says there could be a couple reasons for the increase in the rodent population.

One is that there is no increase at all. With more people working from home because of COVID-19, they simply have more opportunity to see the rats. Second is that, because they’re home more, they are creating more food waste.

"There’s actually a study that was done out of Dalhousie and the estimate is as much as 13 per cent more food waste that the average residential home is producing right now compared to before COVID," Rollo said.

So, as people continue to work from home, interactions with rats and other destructive rodents will continue. The best course of action is to make these freeloaders feel as unwanted as possible.