Rat-infested offices facing workers when WFH ends, pest controllers warn

Pest controllers have warned of rat infestations in empty offices across the UK.

They fear a ticking time bomb of cases when the nation starts to return to work after months at home.

The British Pest Control Association has reported a huge 41% increase in rodent sightings since the lockdown.

"We’ve had reports of rats and mice infesting empty buildings and it seems that their lifestyle patterns are changing," said Natalie Bungay of the BPCA.

"What we’re waiting for is when people do start going back into factories, offices, all the food outlets that have been shut – well, it could be interesting."

She said rats had their daily routines disrupted by the closure of restaurants and decline in public food waste.

"There’s less rubbish on the streets for them to eat," she said.

"But because of the vacated spaces, there’s more space for them to occupy. They have to forage much further and make do with other types of sustenance.

"In the early lockdown, many local authorities were taping up bins.

"Those rats will be going further afield and appearing in areas we wouldn’t normally see them."

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Other pest controllers warned rats could start coming into empty offices through the unused toilets.

"A rat can climb up a wastewater pipe, no problem," says Andy Tyson of Guardian Pest Management in London.

"If no one’s there using a toilet and flushing a cistern, rats can come out."

He said the problem is more likely to occur in modern office buildings where wastewater pipes are usually made of plastic and encased within walls.

Meanwhile, stockpilers face an invasion from rodents feasting on their stashes of food, experts have warned.

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Rats, mice and ants have been munching on the extra supplies hidden away in people’s cupboards, they claim.

During the first lockdown last year, stockpilers hoarded an extra £1billion worth of food due to worries about the coronavirus pandemic.

Peter Higgs, who runs PGH Pest Control, told The Sun: "People have got lots of rice and pasta and they’re putting it in places where they wouldn’t have stored food before – the under stairs cupboards, loft spaces, places like that.

"Because they’ve got so much of it, vermin are going to get in – and a lot of the time people won’t notice."

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