Homeowners across UK cities need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario: a cold winter, empty commercial properties closed due to lockdown with dwindling food sources and rats looking for somewhere warm to call home.
“We are facing a challenging winter with potentially “perfect storm” conditions as the bad news of more lockdowns seems inevitable, rats are breeding like crazy in quiet streets and closed commercial properties – the fear is they will come into homes looking for food when the cold hits”, explains Jenny Rathbone from Pest Control company Pest.co.uk
Empty commercial buildings with dwindling food sources have been blamed for rats running riot in city centres during lockdown and the summer months. Usual sources of food are now drying up as shops and businesses are being forced to close due to local lockdown measures.
Hard ground caused by the dry summer and early cold snap is forcing families of rats to seek easier shelter, many reports coming from homeowners of finding rats in outbuildings, attics and quiet areas between walls and floors.
“The issue currently is that local lockdowns are forcing commercial premises to close, these are natural habits for rats, who would have made home close to businesses with careless food waste habits, however these food sources are running out”, says Rathbone
Rats can typically have six litters of between 6 and 12 pups each year and a group of rats carries the unamusing nickname of a “mischief”, giving a clue to the damage and chaos a large infestation can cause.
Pest is advising anyone living in city areas to take proactive measures before winter really hits, these include:
Block up holes – Fill any gaps in brickwork, shed doors and any holes on external walls of your home including cellars and attics
Clear cupboards – Empty unused cupboards of bags, clothes, rags and keep them clean
Secure all food sources – Make sure food is not left out, tidy away any open food sources and keep worktops and floors clean of crumbs
Prepare traps – by leaving out rat traps you can pre-empt any future infestation, however it is better to bait with official rat poison than leaving food scraps out
“We typically see a 50% increase in reports of rat problems going into the winter months, but we are staffing up this year for even more, and from what we see it’s going to be a busy few months”, concludes Jenny Rathbone from Pest.