We’re not the only ones affected by the closing of restaurants and bars—the rats are too, and they’ve been terrorising neighbourhoods all over the UK to get some food.
Express reported that Britain’s rat population has been increasing rapidly, and is estimated to be at a terrifying 150 million. The lockdown has given them ample space to breed and multiply, especially in empty offices. But now, they are hungry and, given that a majority of hospitality businesses are still closed, they’ve been migrating to residential areas to fill up their empty bellies.
A surge in the rat population
Peter Higgs, managing director of PGH Pest Control and Prevention, in Surrey spoke with Express about this devastating problem and said that the number of residential callouts they were getting have risen by 50% since the beginning of the pandemic. He explained:
They are coming into homes—that's exactly what's happening.
All of the waste that was produced by people eating food out, and from establishments doing the cooking—that's gone.
Now that people are eating outdoors more frequently, parks have also seen a 300% increase in the rodent population in the past year alone. People have been seeing rats enjoy the facilities of the park, like any other person. Councillor, Kevin Blake said:
It's getting to the point where the rats are coming up to your hands for food.
I go to Northlands Park nearly every day, and they're so visible every time.
A dog was chasing one the other day, you see rats swimming among the birds all the time.
This winter was a busy time for many pest control companies in the UK. Rats have been hiding out in homes to keep warm during the colder seasons, and they’ve been taking advantage of the overflowing trash cans in residential areas.
But, as summer approaches, and the lockdown restrictions begin to ease, experts believe that the rats will be migrating back to these commercial areas soon. Sam Devereux of JG Pest Control in London told Express:
But now with the weather improving and pubs, bars and restaurants opening up again, rodents are going to be migrating elsewhere.
We have contracts with pubs, restaurants and takeaways and, while they have stopped with them being closed, we are expecting to have a busy spring and summer with them.