SUNDERLAND is among Britain’s worst hot spots for pest problems, according to new figures.
City council staff dealt with 7,258 calls in the last year, a rate of 26.34 calls per 1,000 residents – the eighth highest of more than 300 authorities that reported results.
“If residents try to deal with issues themselves, or bring in unqualified controllers because they’re cheap, infestations can quickly get out of hand.”BPCA chief executive Simon Forrester
The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) figures show the council’s environmental teams responded to 3,443 issues with rats, 2,490 with mice and 755 with wasps during the year 2013/14.
South Tyneside is ranked seventh nationwide and Newcastle is the national pest black spot, with just over 50 call-outs per 1,000 residents.
The BPCA sent requests for service demand figures to every district, borough and unitary authorities in the UK under the Freedom of Information Act. Pests covered by the data to the end of March include rats, mice, bedbugs, cockroaches, wasps, ants and birds.
BPCA chief executive Simon Forrester, said: “Our study provides a comprehensive and graphic indication of the demand placed on local authorities for pest control.
“There are many localised reasons why a particular area could have a high prevalence of a certain pest, but we’re concerned that services are being cut across the country.
“The cost of professional treatments, either through the local authority or the private sector, can be prohibitive when people are struggling to make ends meet.
“But if residents try to deal with issues themselves, or bring in unqualified controllers because they’re cheap, infestations can quickly get out of hand.
“The problem then becomes much more expensive and carries a greater risk to public health.”
City council assistant head of Street Scene (Public Protection and Regulatory Services), Tom Terrett said: “The fact that we, unlike many other local authorities, still provide a free pest control service with regard to rats, is obviously reflected in the number of reports that we receive.
“We continue to actively encourage people to contact us and they can do so by calling 520 5550.
“Variations in weather conditions such as mild spells through the winter can also influence the number of pest control reports.”