Exterminators say the constant construction taking place in Montreal is at least partially responsible for an increase in complaints about rats.

Construction on the Turcot Interchange, along with the massive revisions to water supply and sewage lines, is displacing rats from their usual homes.

It's compounded when digging begins on new projects, such as the construction of a high rise or a substantial house renovation.

"The construction, the noise, the vibration scares them and they don't like it," said Denny Andrade of Platinum Extermination.

"They come out and they look for refuge and they come to residential homes."

Gary Rothstein knows that all too well.

Around the time crews were digging up his NDG street, a rat came through his basement toilet.

It ate through the backwater valve that connects a home's waste lines to city sewers.

Once out of the toilet, it chewed through bedroom doors.

"At 2 or 3 in the morning I give my wife a nudge, I say Heidi. I could be crazy but it sounds like something's in our room, and within about 12 seconds she jumped up out of bed and started yelling 'it bit me, it bit me, it bit me,'" said Rothstein.

In Point St. Charles Andrade captured 17 rats that were breaking through corroding pipes.

"The problem was so bad that the rats were travelling through the walls and even went to the building adjacent. So they had to gut this place. They had to gut it to get to the root of the problem," said Andrade.

Many cities undergoing massive construction have seen rat problems.

In Paris, nine parks were closed last year because rats were frequently spotted during the day.

Last spring Montreal exterminators also saw an increase in rats -- which they attributed to the mild winter.

There are steps residents can take to deter vermin.

The first is to inspect their building on a regular basis, looking for holes that mice or rats can crawl though and plugging them up.

Residents should also make sure stacks of wood or similar items are not touching walls, or near a building.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure that food and waste are locked up tight and can't become a buffet for rats and mice.