While no one likes to come across a household pest, if you live in certain parts of the UK you could be more at risk of unwanted visitors than others. An incredible 14,812 cases of rat infestations were recorded in Birmingham over a period of one year, with 4,669 cases of wasps in North Lanarkshire.
The report, which was put together by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), makes for unpleasant reading with officials warning figures have risen after councils cut free pest control services. So how do you know if you live in a danger zone?
According to the report published in 2015, Birmingham had the highest number of rat exterminations during 2013-2014 - more than any other UK city. The BPCA warns that if an infestation of a pest ‘isn’t dealt with quickly and professionally, it’s likely to spread with the problem being much more expensive, carrying a greater risk to public health.’
One effective way to deal with rodents (whether mice or rats) is to put down a trap. Snap traps are an inexpensive option that has been effectively handling rodent infestations for decades. These days you can also opt for electric traps, which deliver a high voltage shock to eliminate pests quickly and humanely. Ultimately, the best control method depends on the size of your infestation.
The North East
Newcastle had one of the highest numbers in the UK for pest problems. Five per cent of people living in Tyneside were recorded to have had problems with rats, along with cockroaches, wasps and other invasive pests.
The North West
Knowsley in Merseyside was among the top 20 worst places for pest infestations in the report with 3.4 per cent of people calling out exterminators.
Recorded as the worst for ant invasions, there were 1,990 cases in Fife. Scotland has seen an explosion in the ant population over a period of four years, with a large increase in the number of call outs. The most common species of ant that invades homes is the Black Garden Ant, which is actually a very dark brown. It goes in search of sweet foodstuffs to take back to its nest to feed the rest of the colony. To prevent a problem with ants, keep food well-sealed, particularly sweet foods like honey, jam, sugar and juice drinks.
This is said to be the most rat-infested country in the UK, with among the highest number of call-outs reported from Blaenau Gwent, Rhondda-Cynon-Taff and Merthyr Tydfil.
In the city, 4.9 per cent of people reported pest problems with Southwark alone reporting 1,820 cases of bedbugs, 1,086 cases of cockroaches and 5,250 cases of mice.
You could be in one of the safer areas if you live in the East. The most pest free place was found to be Southend, Essex, with just 0.03 per cent of homeowners reporting a problem with pests.
While rats and cockroaches are usually more common in larger cities, the BPCA says that localised reasons can cause a pest problem, such as the climate. In the case of wasps, the population explosion in Scotland came after a previously wet summer which killed off a lot of the UK’s wasps. The main message is that it is important to deal quickly with an issue if you spot a pest to prevent the problem becoming a crisis.