Keeping pests at bay in Covid-19 pandemic

The British Pest Control Association (BPCAS) is urging householders to be vigilant to pest infestation during the Covid-19 crisis. The move comes as some local authorities struggle to maintain refuse collection services.

Rats on rubbish sacks

The BPCA has raised concerns over the situation.

Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA’s technical manager, said: “The link between piles of uncollected bin bags and pests is clear. More rubbish, particularly food, supports the emergence of pests, particularly rodent infestations.

“It’s not just a matter of nuisance, but a public health issue. Pests like rats, flies and urban foxes feed on the leftovers in our bins. Rats in particular carry many diseases which can be easily spread to humans through their urine, including Toxoplasmosis and Weil’s Disease.”

Ms Ward-Thompson added: “The last thing the country needs right now is a plague of rats alongside the pandemic. Rats and mice can reproduce incredibly quickly given access to a plentiful supply of food, such as food waste.”

Some basic precautions BPCA suggests to help householders take control of the situation include:

  • Keep bin lids sealed properly – even small gaps create easy access for pests;
  • Where possible, keep them away from windows and doors and, ideally, out of direct sunlight to help reduce smells and decrease the rate of decomposition;
  • Don’t leave leftover food lying around and empty kitchen containers into the composting bin on a regular or even daily basis;
  • Don’t put loose food waste straight in the bin. Wrapping it in approved compostable liners, plastic bags or refuse sacks will ensure it doesn’t stick to the sides of containers and will help contain any odours; and
  • Try to keep any food waste in the wheelie bin – only put non-food items into bin bags to keep pests away.


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