Homes are at risk of being overrun by a plague of rodents looking for warm place to sit out the winter - according to pest control experts.
With weather forecasts predicting a polar vortex from the Arctic sending temperatures plummeting over the next few weeks, homeowners in Derbyshire are being warned of a potential influx of unwanted furry house guests.
Pest experts claim a combination of icy conditions and over-flowing dustbins could lead to a huge spike in the number of rats entering people’s homes over Christmas .
Dee Ward-Thompson, of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), said: “We have had abnormally mild conditions throughout the UK this year and that is likely to have led to an increase in the number of rats. Any cold snaps on the way will drive them into buildings in search of shelter and they’ll also go scrounging for food from bins and bird tables. So the Christmas period is likely to provide the perfect opportunity, particularly as it’s party time with fewer bin collections.”
A typical home may have more than a dozen potential entry points for rats. The scurrying scoundrels can get through gaps as small as 2cm, often using plumbing pipes and unscreened vents or gaps in the eaves and roof edges.
The BPCA has issued the following advice -
· Seal up any external gaps, holes or crevices.
· Remove potential nesting sites by keeping yards and gardens clean and tidy.
· Ensure doors and windows can be closed properly and that drain inspection covers are well maintained.
· Keep bins well maintained with their lids closed.
· Areas around bird feeders should be kept clean and pet food bowls should not be left out overnight.
If you find an infestation you are advised to contact professional pest control experts.