Lytham St Anne’s News has been contacted by a concerned resident from Westby Street who, on looking out from his patio window saw a rat scurrying across his decking. This is just one of recent reports of gardens and outbuildings being invaded by hungry rats looking for food during the coronavirus outbreak. In some places, the lock-down means rubbish that rats depend on is no longer available, and so they also adapt.
It is thought that in towns and resorts that at this time of the year usually attract tourists and visitors, the closure of the many seasonal cafes and restaurants, and the lack of edible waste in communal bins, is forcing rats to seek out food from elsewhere. As the rubbish that rats depend on is no longer available, they adapt. Nearby buildings, bin bags, garden waste and even vegetable patches can provide ideal environments for the pests to thrive.
Two types are rats are typically found in towns, the black rat and the brown rats. Both types can pose a health risk to humans through the transmission of diseases.
Natalie Bungay, technical officer for the British Pest Control Association, has confirmed that there are more sightings of rats. ‘Rats in particular may be becoming more visible in areas of population. With less footfall across cities and towns there is less associated food waste being left in bins and on the floor. As a result, rat populations move further afield to satisfy their need for a food source and this, in turn, is likely to cause more sightings.’
Natalie continued’ ‘By nature, rats will also try to avoid humans directly and so, with less of us walking the streets, they may be getting a little bolder and possibly be seen in areas they normally wouldn’t. However, the risk may be that if you are doing more gardening and creating more garden waste, the storage of this in piles around your garden can provide a perfect place for rats to live and breed.’
The National Pest Technicians Association’s Technical manager John Hope added: ‘It’s the same as when rubbish piles up due to missed bin collections. The more that’s there, the more chance there is of attracting rodents without actually seeing them, because they can get in there unnoticed by time you get to bottom of the pile.’

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