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Growing San Francisco Rat Infestation Creates Huge Demand For Exterminators

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Some San Francisco residents say they are dealing with a particularly bad rat infestation, and exterminators agree – telling customers they can't come out right away because of the demand.

That's because there is now a long waiting list for people desperate for exterminators.

Dee Joyce is one of thousands of San Francisco dealing with an uncomfortable intrusion at home.

"Besides being gross they're incredibly destructive," said Joyce, a KPIX 5 employee. "I knew we had not just one or two rats it looks like we have a major infestation."

The evidence is all over the bottom floor of Joyce's condominium. They've chewed through walls, destroyed her storage room, and even gnawed their way through the drywall in her ceiling.

But it's taken more than a week to get an exterminator to come out, because right now exterminators are all booked up for rodent calls in San Francisco.

"This is not a problem to be taken lightly and we wanted to take care of this as soon as possible," said Joyce. "I am a little surprised it's taken this long."

Brandin Martinez with ATCO Pest Control says the problem is getting worse. "We're about two weeks out. I, myself am about three weeks out," said Martinez

Pest control firm Orkin just released its annual "Rattiest Cities in the U.S." study, showing San Francisco at number 4 behind Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

Martinez says ATCO is getting over 25 calls a week, compared to about 10 calls a week in years past. He says the key is to reduce clutter around your home so rats have fewer things to burrow into.

If you're worried you have an infestation, call for an inspection now before the rats make your home their own.

"They are a family group so they will get bigger," said Martinez.

Exterminators believe the dry winter weather is to blame for the increased number of rats in San Francisco this year.



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