Friday 14 August 2020

Coronavirus leading to plagues of vermin, rats top the list

Rats have been deprived of their usual diet during lockdown Photo: Depositphotos.com

Coronavirus has led to plagues of vermin, but lack of action from the government and local councils isn’t helping, pest management centre KAD has said.

The organisation received 1,235 reports of infestation by pests in the first six months of the year, over 200 more than in the same period in 2019.

‘People have been at home more because of corona and have called in more often,’ KAD director Bastiaan Meerburg told public broadcaster NOS.  Pests also showed different patterns of behaviour because of lockdown, Meerburg said. Rats, for instance, turned up elsewhere because their usual haunts, such as fast food restaurants, had to close.

Not all businesses have bothered to have their premises checked for pests during lockdown, which has given them a chance to proliferate. Stories in the media about plagues of vermin may also have contributed to a greater willingness to report, Meerburg told the broadcaster.

‘Research by the World Health Organisation has shown it is vital to control pests,’ said Meerburg. ‘Living in an environment with large numbers of rodents can affect people’s health, including their mental health.’ Pests can also carry disease, he warned. ‘We don’t know about Covid 19 yet but the possibility is there,’ he said.

Rats were the most common pest with 1,280 reports, followed by ants (292), wasps (62), mice (45) and stone martens (36).

The true figures are higher, Meerburg thinks, and the government should give the responsibility for fighting pest to one ministry rather than four, as is currently the case. A number of local councils are also failing to take the problem seriously, he said.

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