A survey carried out by Pest Control Officers, working for Local Authorities revealed that local residents are unknowingly contributing to the rise of rats in their area.
The survey showed that food left out to feed wild birds was a major contributing factor in the increased numbers of rats.
Out of 4,000 calls requesting treatment for rat problems over 1,400 were linked to people feeding birds also feeding rats.
Residents can reduce the risk of rat infestations with these tips:
· Clean bird tables and feeders and the area underneath them regularly.
· Clean away all excess food from pet bowls and from the cages of pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs.
· Do not encourage rats and foxes into the garden by leaving food out. Foxes should not be fed.
· Do not put food directly on the ground Ensure that gardens do not become overgrown and do not allow rubbish to build up e.g. old mattresses and furniture, as these provide good places for rats to live and breed.
If residents suspect an infestation they should take action to deal with it and remove potential food sources as quickly as possible. For further information and advice residents can contact Merton Council’s Pest Control service on 020 8545 3022, or a private pest control company.
Cabinet member for Environment and Traffic Councillor Tariq Ahmad said,
“Rats are a continuing problem in London. We can all work together to help control, contain and most importantly reduce this problem.”