A rat invasion is threatening Wales as drastic cuts in pest control services have been made.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in Wales (CIEH) warned that Council’s cuts in pest control services can lead to “an explosion in rat numbers” in Wales.
Ater the Council cuts became effective earlier on this year, six out of 22 Welsh cities now started to charge residents up to £40 pounds for pest control services, including Cardiff, Newport and Wrexham. In 2011, Carmarthenshire Council completely removed pest control services from its budget in order to save up to £82.000 a year, offering an advice service in replacement.
Talking to The Archer, Julie Barratt, Director for Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in Wales, explained that there are a variety of reasons which can lead to an increasing number on rat surges in Wales. She said: “Local authorities failing to deliver proper pest control services means that more people will turn to the private sector, often businesses which are not interested in domestic work. They often price themselves out of the domestic market, so people will be looking for a service that will not necessarily be available.”
Ms Julie Barratt also warned that these cuts have put Wales in a delicate position. The infestation is likely to spread if people can’t afford the unpredicted high prices of pest control services. People also expose themselves to high health dangers if they decide to eradicate the rats themselves. Mr Barratt said: “When people decide to eradicate the pest themselves, it is often done incorrectly. They may put too much poison, which can be highly hazardous for the people inhabiting the place, or if they put too less there is a danger that the rest will get used to the poison and grow immune to it.
If that is the case, we will most definitely face an increase of surges around Wales, and that is something to raise everybody’s concerns.”
A Cardiff Council spokesperson told The Archer: “Whilst the Council does levy a charge for control of rodents, the price [£35] includes as many treatments as is necessary to control the infestation.
In more general terms, the council also undertakes targeted baiting of the public sewerage system through an agreement with Welsh Water which helps to control overland infestations and the Cathays area will form part of that area treatment programme.”
Margaux Barhoum, tenant on a private accommodation in Cathays, Cardiff, confirmed the existence of a rat pest inside her house for over a month with still no news from the Council’s intervention. “At first I thought there was only a mouse in the house. But a few days ago, I discovered that it was actually a surge. Rats in the kitchen, in the living room, and even in one of the bathrooms. They are not even scared when someone is nearby anymore.”
As Cardiff has been registering an increasing demand on pest control services, many people like Miss Barhoum show their discontent towards the £35 fee and the slow response from the Council.
Ms Barratt also explained that rats can be really hazardous for people’s health, as they are major carriers of all sorts of diseases.
A blueprint of Cardiff Council’s masterplan to expand the Bay and city centre areas was also released today. Although Ms Barratt refused to comment on the political decisions of the Council, she showed her concern on how this construction plan may have an even bigger impact on the rat pest.
She added: “Any place where there is major construction work going on and land disturbance, you will find rats looking for other places to go. If the Council engages in this works without taking care of the surges, rats will become more visible, because they will be disturb and look for new homes.”