Christmas leftovers cause ‘surge in rat problems’ across county

Rats in the Victoria area of central London. According to one expert, the recent cold weather and f

Pest controllers have recorded a surge in the county’s rat population due to “carelessly discarded Christmas food waste”. - Credit: PA

A surge in the county’s rat population has been caused by “carelessly discarded Christmas food waste”, according to pest controllers.  

There was already ‘rat problem’ across Cambridgeshire, but now Pest.co.uk say the festive period has given the rodents a “perfect storm” to feast on.  

Jenny Rathbone from the Cambridge-based pest controllers said: “The problems are huge – the rat population in Cambridge going into Winter was 25 per cent higher than last year. 

“We are entering a cold period – rats are moving around trying to find food and shelter – many are attacking domestic bins, and anyone being careless about their Christmas rubbish will pay the price.” 

Rats in the Victoria area of central London. According to one expert, the recent cold weather and f

Pest controllers have recorded a surge in the county’s rat population due to “carelessly discarded Christmas food waste”. - Credit: PA

Most homes produce large quantities of food waste over Christmas and with less frequent waste collections – bins are overflowing.  

The advice is to avoid placing any food waste outside of a secure bin.  

The warning is even extended to cardboard and wrapping paper, which make perfect bedding materials for rats seeking shelter. 

2020 has been a bumper year for rats – with the population of rats in Cambridge up 25 per cent caused by lockdowns, vacant commercial property, and poor waste management.  

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However, many rats are now being forced to move towards residential areas are commercial food sources are drying up. 

Rats nibble on discarded food in central London as The Keep Britain Tidy Campaign announced that th

Pest controllers have recorded a surge in the county’s rat population due to “carelessly discarded Christmas food waste”. - Credit: PA

“More and more people in Cambridge are seeing rats in the open – this is a sign that numbers are very high,” says Rathbone. 

“We are heading for a cold snap, and rats are busy raiding food sources and bedding down – calls for infestations are already increasing.” 

Pest.co.uk is issuing the following advice to anyone worried about rats over the Christmas and New Year break: 

  • Do not leave any food waste unprotected – Any excess rubbish containing food of any sort should be kept secure, do not leave any bags anywhere outside of a bin, especially Christmas dinner leftovers 
  • Consider placing a brick or heavy object on top of your wheelie bin 
  • Keep all areas of your home clean and tidy 
  • Block up any gaps or holes in brickwork 
  • Remove cardboard and wrapping paper – these are idea bedding materials for rodents 

Ms Rathbone added: “The advice is really simple – do not leave any Christmas waste in the open or outside a secured bin.  

“Do not, under any circumstances, leave any Christmas food waste inside your home – as the rat threat level is currently extremely high.”  

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