BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Too many rats. That’s the reality facing Baltimore so the city is planning an extermination surge.

Alex DeMetrick reports the rats have a big head start.

Every day, Baltimore City pest control worker Rennard Jackson is facing an uphill battle. His enemy is the rat. There’s no telling how many are roaming Baltimore, but it’s a safe guess their numbers are exploding.

“They tunnel through the ground, through concrete, through wood,” said property manager Jeff Blum.

Maps show the complaint calls that have come into the city just in the month of October.

“City streets ridden with rats are a clear indication we need to do more,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

So the city is targeting more than 12,000 alleys, totaling over 4,500 miles. They’ll treat every alley every 20 days and inspecting 5,000 alleys every two weeks.

“We’re way behind the curve in staying ahead of that reproductive cycle,” said Baltimore DPW Director Rudolph Chow.

And when it comes to numbers, it’s tough to keep up with rats.

“You just start with two rats and they produce 12 and eight of them are women and the eight women produce another 12 so you do the math,” Jackson said.

But rats can only survive where there is food. Between open trash can lids and outright dumping in alleys and abandoned property…

“I think one of the biggest problems is people not cleaning up in the area. A lot of trash cans and all that kind of stuff out there,” said resident Tyrone Holloway.

“Oh yeah, definitely food down here,” Jackson said.

Slipping the long nozzle of a duster into a rat burrow, Hawkins pumped in a toxic powder. It will cling to the rat’s fur. When it licks itself, it will consume the poison.

A good thing, in a town where even cats steer clear of rats.

The city will double full-time exterminators and keep up the rat control surge for one year. Depending on rat numbers, it could continue or be scaled back.

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Alex DeMetrick

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