Guess who’s attending dinner? Rats – lots of them – to feast on leftovers that don’t end up in the trash can of a dumpster.
It will probably come as no surprise to many readers that in 2021 Toronto was considered Ontario’s dirtiest city, as measured by Orkin, a major pest control company that counts the number of calls it receives to exterminate rodents.
By any estimate, the number of rats in urban areas has grown by leaps and bounds. One account I found online says Toronto’s rat population has doubled in the past 10 years, while other stories blame the widespread expansion of rats into residential areas on the closure of restaurants due to COVID-19.
Fewer leftovers from closed eateries means less food for rats, sending them further afield, including a garbage fence at the back of a Toronto Community Housing Corporation building on Flemington Road.
Lorna Robinson, who lives on nearby Replin Road, sent an email saying: “There are tons of rats in my area, and when I called 311 I was told the town has no rats.
“The concern is that the population seems to be exploding,” especially around a garbage can fence at the back of one of the TCHC buildings on Flemington, she said, adding that “30-40 rat holes have been dug all around.”
Her emails contain startling photos of dozens of tennis-ball-sized holes in a lawn on two sides of the fence.
“I now also see rats in my backyard and elsewhere in the neighborhood during the day,” she said, adding that similar holes were recently found in a nearby schoolyard and also near the Lawrence Heights Community Center building, which is no more. than 50 meters away from the housing.
Robinson said in an interview that she recently spoke to a community center worker who told her he was shocked to see many rats running out from under the bin as it was being lifted by a truck to empty it.
I went there last week and saw the same holes as depicted in Robinson’s photos, but no rats came out to greet me. A woman passing by saw me taking pictures and said that if I stuck around until dusk, I would definitely be rewarded with a picture of a rat.
STATUS: I sent a note to TCHC about the plague and got a response from spokesman Bruce Malloch that they were already taking steps to address it. “We have an active rodent control plan in Lawrence Heights as required by city ordinance.”
He noted that the demolition of old buildings and the construction of new buildings in the immediate vicinity has caused a migration of rats, some of which have burrowed around the fence. “We have established an active pest management plan on Flemington Road, and in response to the recent infestation we have increased monitoring and cleaning at the site and engaged a supplier to develop a rodent management plan.”
Coincidentally, the exterminator would be there the same day last week that I contacted Malloch, “to apply rodent control measures,” he said, adding that regular monitoring and applications of rat control products will continue.
Sounds good, but if the rats are as prominent as it seems, the problem will undoubtedly remain. Time will tell.
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