Terrace housing and fly-tipping could be contributing to Preston’s rat population, environmental health chiefs said today.
The number of call-outs the city council’s pest control officers dealt with last year rose as more rodents survived to breed into the following year due to a mild winter.
However, council experts are predicting a slight drop this year to 1,200 by the end of 2015.
Last year, the residents of New Hall Lane, Fishwick, made the most calls to the council to tackle vermin. There were 13 call-outs to rats and 23 for mice to the gateway road into Preston.
Fishwick Parade had 21 incidents of rats, plus 11 for mice. Officers attended Ribbleton Avenue 25 times, six times for rats, 15 for mice and four for cockroaches.
Experts say terrace housing can enable infestations to spread quickly to neighbouring properties.
Rats and mice will also scamper towards food when people feed birds, or they will burrow under compost heaps where there isn’t a base.Simon Neighbour
Simon Neighbour, environmental health manager for Preston City Council, which still offers a free pest control service, said: “The older the property, the more likely there may be defects in the brickwork and they will go in through a cavity.
“Rats and mice will also scamper towards food when people feed birds, or they will burrow under compost heaps where there isn’t a base.
“We generate a map every month which shows the clusters where we have had complaints from, and we carry out sewer baiting in these areas which is effective in tackling rats.
“We had a call from one lady who said her cat was bringing in a rat every day. She lived near a canal and so we got in touch with the water authority to sort it out.
“When people feed ducks, they are also feeding rats which are attracted to the crumbs. We had this problem at The Serpentine in Moor Park.
“We put signs up and people don’t feed the ducks as much and now there are no more rats.”
Coun Martyn Rawlinson, who represents Fishwick ward, which includes some of the streets with high call out rates to pest control, said there were a lot of older properties in the area.
He said: “There are sometimes particular areas where problems reoccur.
“Rats only tend to appear where there is food, so it could be down to poor waste management by some residents or fly-tipping.
“Preston still has a free pest control service and we also work alongside United Utilities on baiting in the drains to keep rats down.
“So I think the council does everything it can, and probably more than most councils these days.”
In Wyre, Poulton and Fleetwood were the most visited areas, but Pilling Lane in Preesall had eight reports of rats.
In Fylde, Woodlands Drive, Wrea Green was the busiest spot, with 13 requests for help from Fylde Council – 12 for mice and one for wasps.Monkswood Avenue, Morecambe, was the most visited street by Lancaster Council’s pest controllers last year, with nine call0 outs to deal with rats, three with mice, two for bees and three for wasps.
Figures were requested from Chorley and South Ribble Councils but were not provided.
The figures, which were provided following a Freedom of Information request asking councils for data for the most visited streets, do not cover private pest control operators who also respond to calls.
New Hall Lane (18 times) Rats 7 Mice 11 Cockroaches 0
St Austins Road (20 times) Rats 1 Mice 19 Cockroaches 0
Blackpool Road (20 times) Rats 15 Mice 5 Cockroaches 0
Fishwick Parade (22 times) Rats 12 Mice 9 Cockroaches 1
Watling Street Road (25) Rats 15 Mice 9 Cockroaches 1
Nevett Street (24 times) Rats 20 Mice 4 Cockroaches 0
Garstang Road (24 times) Rats 13 Mice 11 Cockroaches 0
Ribbleton Avenue (25) Rats 6 Mice 15 Cockroaches 4
Fishwick Parade (32) Rats 21 Mice 11 Cockroaches 0
New Hall Lane (36 times) Rats 13 Mice 23 Cockroaches 0