LOCKDOWN has been cited as one of the possible reasons behind Fermanagh’s growing rat problem and the significant increase in rodent complaints across the county.
The matter was discussed at Fermanagh & Omagh District Council recently, when it was revealed that complaints more than doubled over the past 12 months when compared to previous years.
The council’s regeneration and community committee noted that, “The year 2020-2021 recorded a significant increase in overall service requests with a commensurate increase to pest control matters.”
In none of the previous four years has the number of complaints been above 40, but 2020/2021 seen that number jump to 90, with rodent reports representing 3.1 per-cent of overall service requests.
One local pest control operator, told the Herald that he has experienced a significant increase in call-outs to large housing estates and parks.
“It’s got a lot busier and I think a large part of that is to do with the lockdown,” he said. “We’re getting an awful lot of calls about rodents passing through back gardens.
“The majority of call-outs are actually rat sightings as opposed to there being an influx of rats in people’s homes.
“People are at home now more often, they’re seeing more during the day. Usually people are at work from 9 to 5 but since Covid their sitting in gardens or looking out the kitchen window and have time to notice things more.
“People are also taking more of an interest in their garden and feeding wildlife.
“When feeding birds, people must ensure that any spillage’s are cleared up.
“Spill trays can also be placed below the bird feeder that will catch anything that has been scattered. You can also put a cone at the bottom of the feeder that will stop rodents climbing up them.”
He added, “Decking in gardens is also a prime attraction for rodents, as well as people not cleaning or covering their BBQ after using it.
The smell alone will attract rodents, so people must clean the area as soon as they’re finished.”
The pest control operator also noted that human activity would usually “discourage rats” from taking up residence, however many commercial premises have been left unoccupied since the outbreak of Covid-19.
“Rodents have been left with the run of the place over the last year, they have been given an opportunity to make themselves at home and that’s when they’ll move in, when places are completely quiet.
“Rats are Neophobic, which means they have a fear of anything new. If you manipulate the environment and move objects around you can keep them out.
“They are object shy so even just moving a plant pot in your garden will do the trick.”
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