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'Huge increase' in rats as ravenous rodents go indoors to escape cold

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Rats caught in the capital’s Marmion Court flats complex last summer, which saw unprecedented exterminator call-outs

Rats caught in the capital’s Marmion Court flats complex last summer, which saw unprecedented exterminator call-outs

Rats caught in the capital’s Marmion Court flats complex last summer, which saw unprecedented exterminator call-outs

A plague of rats has hit the capital, with the building boom and recent extreme weather conditions creating a perfect storm for rodents.

Exterminators nationwide have reported a rise in the number of call-outs, due largely to the unprecedented hot summer conditions causing rodent populations to thrive and multiply.

Rentokil, the largest pest control company, has noted a 34pc increase in call-outs this year - with Dublin accounting for the majority of infestations.

Poison

Complete Pest Control, another exterminator firm, confirmed it had purchased as much rat poison this summer as it had done last winter, which it described as unprecedented.

The company has noted a "huge increase" in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway, while Rentokil had most of its call-outs in Dublin (32pc), Galway (11pc), Clare (9pc) and Limerick (8pc).

Complete's managing director Trevor Hayden said the amount of building work taking place in key cities is driving rats indoors, out of their preferred nesting places.

"About two years ago we started noticing that there was very little difference between our summer and winter call-outs," he said, adding that this was around the time that the rate of construction began to escalate.

"The snow last spring did kill a lot of rats but it also drove any that could escape indoors."

The hot summer had caused populations to thrive and together with the building boom, had almost created "a perfect storm", he said.

Rentokil area manager Dr Colm Moore said it generally experiences a sudden spike in call-outs for rodents every year during autumn, as the population begins to move indoors to escape the cold weather.

"Notably, in 2018, this annual spike increased by 45pc and occurred a month earlier when compared with the previous year," he said.

Warning

He believes extreme weather conditions, as a result of climate change, have led to the rodents changing their habits, moving indoors earlier and in higher numbers.

The companies are warning householders and businesses to be vigilant.

Mr Hayden said rats generally enter buildings from holes no more than waist high, advising that all broken vents be checked.

Meanwhile, Rentokil advised that gardens be kept free from debris, that foodstuffs are kept in metal or glass containers with tight-fitting lids and that outdoor rubbish be kept in metal bins with securely-fitted lids.


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