We are being warned to keep an eye out for pests, including rats, cockroaches and fleas, who are moving indoors to seek shelter from the cold
Pest control experts say there has been a surge in call-outs to deal with rodent and insect infestations, and the problem will only worsen as temperatures drop.
Rentokil has warned that pests including cockroaches and fleas will move indoors in the coming months to seek shelter from the cold weather.
Level 5 restrictions, which have seen premises lying empty around the country, are “particularly vulnerable” to pests who may enter them.
Richard Faulkner, advanced technical field consultant with Rentokil, explained how vacant buildings attract pests due to their warm, sheltered environment and lack of human activity.
“If you’ve got a vacant building that’s relatively warm compared to outside conditions, it’s quiet and undisturbed. Every sort of animal wants an undisturbed environment so it’s definitely a potential issue,” he said.
Mr Faulkner also stated that lockdown has been a major factor in the increase of infestations throughout the country.
“Domestic callouts are on the rise because more of us are stuck at home noticing and becoming more aware of stuff that we wouldn’t normally see because we’re at work. And because we are out less in the environment, it’s allowing all sorts of animals to encroach.
A lot of people are noticing animals that they wouldn’t have noticed before in their gardens.”
Rentokil has seen a 37pc increase in call- outs for rodents and a 26pc increase in total call-outs for pest insects in October, when compared to the previous month.
Dublin recorded the highest number of call-outs in October, with 24pc of total rodent call-outs and 41pc of insect call-outs.
Cork accounted for the second highest number with rodent call-outs at 15pc and insect call-outs at 12pc.
Kerry accounted for the third most rodent call-outs in the month (10pc) and Kildare accounted for the fourth most (7pc). Limerick accounted for the third most insect call-outs (6pc) and Mayo accounted for the fourth most (5pc).
Mr Faulkner said: “This year is exceptional given that many business premises are lying vacant as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. We would advise home and business owners to practice some simple steps which will help to protect their premises from pest activity.”
It has shared a number of tips to help prevent the presence of pests.
They advise property owners to clear away any crumbs and discarded food, clean up pet trays every night and keep properties tidy and free from clutter.
They added: “Carefully store away food. Pests will hunt out food, so don’t make it easy for them. Seal any cracks or holes in your property using steel wool or caulk.”
"Keep your property tidy. Pests seek refuge in clutter, such as stacks of newspapers and discarded boxes,” the company said.
De-clutter your basement and attic, and store boxes on shelves.