Rats! SBC ranks highly in Scottish pests league
Published 3 Aug 2012 09:30 0 Comments
SCOTTISH Borders Council dealt with a total of 1,184 pest control call-outs over a year.
This equated to 10.57 pest problems per 1,000 residents ranking them 17th highest out of the 32 Scottish local authorities.
The data comes from the first British Pest Control Association National Survey, which analysed demand for pest control across all 393 authorities in the UK over a 12-month period.
The survey shows that Scottish Borders Council was called out a total of 113 times over the period to alleviate problems with rats - equivalent to 1.01 demands for service per 1,000 residents and ranking 19 out of 32 in Scotland.
British Pest Control Association (BPCA) research found that Scottish Borders Council had 841 problems with wasps, ranking 4th in the per 1,000 table with a figure of 7.51.
There were 79 call-outs for ants in Scottish Borders, ranking 13 in Scotland with 0.71 per 1,000.
There were three issues with bedbugs, equating to 0.03 per 1,000 and ranking 14th. There were no call-outs for cockroaches.
The not-for-profit BPCA sent Freedom of Information Act requests to all district, borough and unitary authorities asking for service demand figures for the 12 months to April 2011. Every council responded. Pests covered by the data include rats, mice, bed bugs, cockroaches, wasps, ants and birds.
Simon Forrester, chief executive at the BPCA, said: "This is the most comprehensive study of the demand placed on local authorities for pest control ever carried out and it covers a period when the austerity measures were starting to bite.
"There may be a number of local factors why a council appears towards the top of one of the lists, but on a national scale the BPCA is concerned that pest control budgets are being hit.
"That may make it harder for councils in Scotland to respond as effectively as they would like, which could have implications for both quality of life and public health.
"Authorities are reducing manpower and looking at new ways of dealing with pests. We would urge councils thinking of outsourcing services to use BPCA members - potential public health problems need to be dealt with by professionals, and failing to tackle an infestation properly leads to additional expense and resident dissatisfaction."
Mr Forrester added: "This first British Pest Control Association National Survey provides incredibly valuable baseline data. Subsequent surveys will allow us to plot trends, to identify new threats and to gauge how cutbacks are affecting such a vital public health service."
BPCA's Top Pest Facts
We are all aware of the dangers from problem pests - but here are five facts about a range of pesky pest species
· Rats have long incisor teeth which grow continually throughout their life, meaning they must gnaw materials to wear the teeth down, potentially causing huge problems when they gnaw through wiring or water pipes
· The Norway or common brown rat is the most abundant rat in the UK and it is often found in burrows and sewer systems
· Norway rats can jump vertically to a height of 77cm, and more than 120m horizontally
· Norway rats will avoid any new or strange object for 10 - 14 days. This is termed 'new object reaction' (neophobia)
· Up to 50% of Norway rats carry Leptospirosis (Weils disease), which is transmitted through the rats urine and can result in flu like symptoms, jaundice, kidney failure and even death (one recent high-profile fatality was Olympic gold-winning rower Andy Holmes)
· House mice are inquisitive and will openly investigate new objects
· House mice are incontinent and produce approximately 80 droppings in a day, contaminating wherever they are active
· House mice are light, intermittent and erratic feeders, eating small amounts of food from large number of areas. This can lead to a the contamination of many foods by a single mouse
· Mice like to climb, so will often enter a building and live in the upper floors - even at the top of tower blocks
· Mice can take all the water they require to survive from the foods that they eat
· Oriental cockroaches are a pest of warm environments such as heating ducts, refuse tips and drains
· Cockroach egg cases are called ootheca. Oriental cockroach ootheca contain approximately 16 eggs and can lay dormant for 3 months or longer before hatching
· Cockroaches tend to hide by day, becoming very active at night
· German cockroaches are smaller than oriental cockroaches and prefer warmer conditions
· German cockroaches are fantastic climbers and will often infest the higher levels of flats and premises
· Bed bugs are a nocturnal parasite that feed on the blood of mammals, especially humans
· Female bed bugs will lay approximately 200 eggs in just 5 days in cracks and crevices around bedrooms and properties
· Bed bugs do not fly or jump. They are spread through luggage, second hand furniture, laundry or by simply crawling from one infested property to a neighbouring one
· Bed bugs are not known to be frequent carriers of disease , but the irritation caused by bites can be severe
· Any property can suffer from bed bug activity - it is often bad luck and not a sign that a property is dirty or in a poor state of repair
· By late summer a normal wasp nest can contain between 3,000 and 5,000 wasps
· Wasps become more active when exposed to light, so if you have a nest in your attic, don't go up there with a torch!
· Wasp colonies survive for one season in the UK, with nests dying off in Autumn/winter
· Old wasp nests are never re-used by wasps, but in favourable nesting sites new nests can be built next to old ones
· Fertilised queens are the only members of the nest to survive, and they overwinter to start new colonies in spring
· All bird species in the UK are protected under a piece of legislation known as The Wildlife and Countryside act 1981. Special licences are issued by the Government to deal with specific bird pests
· Feral pigeons are transmitters of diseases such as ornithosis and salmonellosis
· Bird and pigeon debris can be very destructive, as droppings can erode surfaces such as stonework, and nests can block gutters and gullies, encouraging flooding
· Bird nesting sites are reservoirs of infestation for a number of insect pests such as clothes moth, spider beetles, flies and mites
· Bird droppings around your property can be a potential health and safety risk as they can be very slippery in wet conditions
This article appeared in Border Telegraph 03 Aug 12
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