The number of rat sightings across London has risen dramatically. BCPA reports a 78% increase as rat catchers celebrate the booming business.
Sightings of rats across London have drastically increased as the animals seem to be on the move. It is believed that the suburbs remain heavily affected as the rats move away from the city center, instead opting for residential areas. Most offices and restaurants have remained empty, forcing the rodents to target people’s homes. Meanwhile, as people spend more time indoors, rubbish piles up quicker luring the rats closer.
The information was collated by the British Pest Control Association, representing 700 rat catchers countrywide. During the first lockdown, they reported a 51% increase in rodent activity, and a further 78% increase in November. At the moment, actual figures during the third lockdown on the right sightings are still being calculated. Areas such as bird feeders - usually replenished during winter - have turned into burrowing areas.
Rentokil, a pest control giant, has risen 37% in 2020 as opposed to 2015. Metro News reports that Paul Blackhurst, who heads the technical Academy, affirmed the change in rodent behavior. Mice and rats have enjoyed free reign to breed undisturbed in the empty office spaces. The closure of the hospitality sector meant rodents are seeking alternative sources of food waste to survive.
Rodents will move to places where food sources are in plenty. Many restaurants and takeaways have gone under during the lockdown forcing them to look for food in residential areas. However, they will make a resurgence in business districts once foo sources avail themselves.
Exterminators are worried that businesses without a proper pest control plan will face a rude shock when the lockdown is lifted. Generally, the vermin are gaining more confidence as fewer people are in sight. Reports show that rats measure over 40cm in length requiring the adoption of stronger traps and potent poison. Some believe that once offices open up in summer, rats will have climbed in through the toilets and nested on the ceilings.
Rats residing in London could be more than 20 million. It was estimated over 30 million rats bred across the UK last year, a good number even bold enough to venture out during the daylight or chew through hard surfaces like bricks or soft metal. Given the number of rats in London far outweighs the number of people, an increase in their numbers is bound to create a lot of problems. Rats are known for their ability to multiply exponentially, for instance, a breeding pair can result in the birth of 1250 other rats in a year.
The public has ensured food waste has been properly disposed of while keeping food locked away from the home. Air vents and other home entry points were sealed off with steel mesh. The best way to avoid a rat situation at your home is prevention. Gardeners too should be aware that the compost heap attracts them too.