10/22/2015 10:58 EDT | Updated 10/22/2015 10:59 EDT

Alberta Is Officially Free Of Rats, After Spring Infestation

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A rat in the sunlight

BON ACCORD, Alta. — Alberta Agriculture says the province is rat-free once again.

In the spring, a rat infestation was found in Bon Accord, north of Edmonton.

The roof-rats were hiding out under a chicken coop, and had moved to a neighbour's compost pit after rat control went in to take care of them.

After a couple of sightings of rats in the area throughout the summer, they've now been confirmed to be gone.

Phil Merril, Alberta Agriculture's rat and pest investigation specialist, says the case shows how hard it is to maintain Alberta's rat-free status.

Merril says they deal with hundreds of complaints each year, but only a few of the calls are confirmed rat infestations.

"We have seven guys that basically do rat control most of the year, and that's along the Saskatchewan border in what we call the `rat-control zone,' ''he says. "In that rat-control zone, every premise is checked at least once a year, and often twice a year.''

The rats are believed to have come the province by hitching a ride on a trailer or RV that had been in B.C.

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