Lockdown boosts rat population to 150 million in the UK

Lockdown boosts rat population to 150 million in the UK

The population of rats in the UK has increased by 30 million in a year to 150 million – boosted by quiet urban areas and plentiful waste food – there are now thought to be 2.2 rats for every person.

“They say you are only ever 6ft away from a rat – and in typical 2020 fashion it’s now more likely than ever this year!”, says Jenny Rathbone from UK Pest Control company Pest.co.uk

There are now 2.2 rats for every person in the UK

Rats have enjoyed a bumper year, breeding like crazy during lockdown and making their nests in vacant buildings in quiet streets with poor waste practices. Pest control firm Pest.co.uk reports that numbers of rats in the infestations they have been called to have been 25% larger this year than last.

“We are seeing a huge increase in rat problems throughout the country as lockdown has really helped them breed in relative peace with closed shops and poor waste management practices providing them with plentiful food and shelter”, reports Rathbone.

Rats can typically have six litters of between 6 and 12 pups each year and a group of rats carries the unamusing nickname of a “mischief”, giving a clue to the damage and chaos a large infestation can cause.

The problem was clearly demonstrated in Birmingham last week, where workers disturbed a “mischief” of rats living inside the popular “Floozie in the Jacuzzi” statue yards from Birmingham City Hall and in an area which would usually be busy with shoppers at the many themed markets held close by.

The cities with the highest rat populations in the UK are:

  1. London – 19.9m
  2. Birmingham – 2.4m
  3. Leeds – 1.7m
  4. Glasgow – 1.3m
  5. Sheffield – 1.2m
  6. Manchester – 1.1m
  7. Edinburgh – 1.1m
  8. Liverpool – 1m
  9. Bristol – 950,000
  10. Cardiff – 760,000

“The problem we have right now is that rats are trying to bed down for Winter, and this will happen when we get a few cold snaps”, adds Rothbone

Pest.co.uk is advising anyone living in urban areas to take proactive measures before winter really hits and rats try and find a warm home for the winter months, these include:

  • Block up holes – Fill any gaps in brickwork, shed doors and any holes on external walls of your home including cellars and attics
  • Clear cupboards – Empty unused cupboards of bags, clothes, rags and keep them clean
  • Secure all food sources – Make sure food is not left out, tidy away any open food sources and keep worktops and floors clean of crumbs
  • Prepare traps – by leaving out rat traps you can pre-empt any future infestation, however it is better to bait with official rat poison than leaving food scraps out

“The main thing to remember is rats need food and shelter to breed, so any food source should be quickly cleaned away – keeping yard areas clean and tidy is key to keeping rats under control”, concludes Jenny Rathbone from UK Pest Control company Pest.co.uk

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