Pest control sees increase of rat calls since tunnel work began

Updated:

Loading

SEATTLE - A pest control company says Seattle is experiencing a "ratpocalypse" over construction of the Highway 99 tunnel. 

Sprague Pest Solutions is running rolling bicycle ads saying downtown building managers should seal cracks to prevent rats displaced by construction from moving in. 

The company reports a 60 to 80 percent jump in calls since preliminary tunnel work began 

"As we shake the ground they live in, they have to go relocate to a better home and that next better home is really the buildings of Seattle," said Sprague District Manager Mark Schmidt. 

Schmidt says even before drilling began, preliminary work on the Highway 99 tunnel sent rats scurrying high into buildings. 

"That was just driving stakes in the ground," Schmidt said. 

He thinks the actual tunneling will cause more disruption. 

A spokeswoman for the tunnel project wrote in an email to KIRO 7 that contractors set dozens of traps and have not seen significant displacement of rodents.

 Project managers think excavation work would have already sent most rats in the work zone out of hiding.

They also say much of the tunneling is done below sea level, where rats don't want to live.