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The company told Pest that its figures were “based on population and weighted against our own work”.

Jenny Rathbone from pest control business Pest.co.uk, said: “They say you are only ever 6ft away from a rat – and in typical 2020 fashion it’s now more likely than ever this year.”

Rats have enjoyed a bumper year, breeding like crazy during lockdown and making their nests in vacant buildings in quiet streets with poor waste practices. 

Ms Rathbone said the numbers of rats in the infestations that her business have been called to have been 25% larger this year than last.

“We are seeing a huge increase in rat problems throughout the country as lockdown has really helped them breed in relative peace with closed shops and poor waste management practices providing them with plentiful food and shelter”, said Ms Rathbone.

Pest.co.uk said the cities with the highest rat populations in the UK are:

  • London – 19.9 million
  • Birmingham – 2.4m
  • Leeds – 1.7m
  • Glasgow – 1.3m
  • Sheffield – 1.2m
  • Manchester – 1.1m
  • Edinburgh – 1.1m
  • Liverpool – 1m
  • Bristol – 950,000
  • Cardiff – 760,000

Ms Rathbone added: “The problem we have right now is that rats are trying to bed down for Winter, and this will happen when we get a few cold snaps.

“Pest.co.uk is advising landlords and restaurant managers to take proactive measures before winter really hits and rats try and find a warm home for the winter months.”

Published: 24 November 2020