'Pied-pipers' called in to clear rat-infested waste hub in housing estate
The 'pied-pipers' have been called in to a housing estate in Clondalkin in an effort to put an end to a rat infestation that has left families fearful of allowing their children outside.
The severe infestation, which surrounds a waste disposal unit at the back of the Grange View Place housing estate, has been causing problems in the area since April.
Despite renewed efforts from the estate's management company, which has included a number of rodent bait boxes being put in place, the issue has gotten worse, according to locals.
A pest control company was called in by estate management and spent hours yesterday clearing out rubbish from the disposal unit and laying poison bait boxes.
A spokesperson for estate management Bohan Hyland said: "There is a full pest control plan and bin management plan in place at Grangeview and pest control are dealing with this outbreak in conjunction with our contractors," she said.
"We encourage all residents to assist in the control by ensuring the waste bags are placed inside the sealed, disinfected bins and not left on the ground which will hugely assist in dealing with this issue," she added.
In less than 30 minutes of monitoring earlier this week, the Herald spotted at least 50 rats scurrying around the waste shed.
"It's a nightmare, it's a joke - you can't open your window and you're opening your front door at your own peril every morning," said one resident.
"How can you let kids go out to play in that, it doesn't bear thinking about. You can hear them in the roof of the shed hopping and scratching at night," she added.
Another local, Marta Boitor, said that the rats are fearless.
"They're not scared of people, they're walking through our legs," she said.
Dr Colm Moore of Rentokil Ireland said this fearlessness is unsurprising.
"That can be common when they're habituated to the area - they've got used to it and are very comfortable there, we've become across it before," Dr Moore said.
He explained that in order to cull the infestation, the food and water supplies to the rodents must be cut off along with poison bait boxes placed, because if there is another food source, the bait will be less appealing.
He said that once the rat is poisoned it will take up to four days for it to die.
Fumigation is not an option in this situation as the shed is too close to homes.
Alarmingly for residents, Mr Moore also explained that the rats can reproduce at a fast rate.
"If you're a pup (baby rat), you'll be sexually mature within three weeks (of birth).
"They're ready to mate in 21 days, so the cycle is quite quick," he added.