Constant Montreal construction means rat population is booming

On top of the noise, mess, and traffic headaches there has been an unexpected consequence of Montreal's road and sewer repair: this year, hordes of rats have been driven from Montreal's underbelly up into people's homes.

Karine Mikaelyan with AMG Extermination says the number of frantic phone calls she gets from clients about rats has tripled

"It's different than usual," she says. "Before it was one call a day or not, now we have more than three calls a day about rats."

Monique Fornier with eco-pro exterminators is another one of several exterminators who have noticed an uptick in rat complaints — and they believe they know why.

"We've seen a lot of rats coming up from the sewers most of them," she says. "I think it's related to all the public works on the streets, that has created a lot of rats going into homes."

Mikaelyan agrees that rats are crawling up into people's homes through their toilettes or basement sewer lines, but the two exterminators have wildly different accounts of where the problem is at it's worst.

She says after road work in the autumn NDG, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Cote St. Luc, and Ahunstic are teeming with rats, and frightened residents desperate to have them removed, but competitor Fornier says Outremont, Westmount, around St Laurent and the Pleateau-Mont-Royal areas are where they do most of their rodent exterminations.

With city plans to renovate and rebuild more than 5,000 kilometres of roads, sewers and water mains in the next decade in Montreal, both exterminators expect business to be booming in years to come.