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Thousands of pest control call-outs made in West Lancashire

Rats, mice and wasps pose the biggest problem

The number of call-outs recorded by West Lancashire Borough Council

Thousands of calls have been received by council pest control to deal with vermin across the borough.

Figures obtained by the Advertiser following a Freedom of Information request show that  West Lancashire Borough Council has been called out to deal with thousands of pests over the past three years including rats, mice and wasps.

In 2011/2012 alone, there were 559 call-outs – almost two calls every day –  to deal with wasps in and around people’s homes.

This figure also includes call-outs to commercial premises such as restaurants, bars and take-away's.

In 2012/2013, this figure dropped to 188 call-outs, but with that equating to several  calls each week, wasps were still seen to be a significant problem across the borough.

From 2013 until March this year, there have been 274 calls regarding wasps alone.

A spokesman for West Lancashire Borough Council said: “The council followed other councils and introduced charges for domestic pest control treatments for vermin on April 1, 2002, with domestic pest control treatments for insects having been brought in at least five years previously.

“With regard to the drop in the number of pest control treatments since 2011/12, other than seasonal fluctuations, the key difference is the number of requests for wasp treatments.

“This figure dropped from 499 in 2011/12 to 142 in 2012/13.

“This reduction in wasp activity was experienced in many parts of the country, and is believed to be the result of a short period of unseasonably warm weather in February 2012 during an otherwise cold winter/ spring. The construction of every wasp nest is started each year by a queen wasp, which hibernates over the winter.

“It is believed that this period of warm weather caused many of the queen wasps to emerge from hibernation much earlier than usual, which were then subsequently killed by the colder weather before they could establish a nest.

 “The number of treatments for wasps increased in 2013/14, and our technicians are currently experiencing a further increase in the volume of calls for wasp and bee treatments, so it is anticipated that the number of treatments will increase again in 2014/15.”

Call-outs to deal with rats in West Lancashire have stayed at a similar level over the past three years, but remain high with an average of 229 calls been made each year.

In 2011/2012, there were 228 calls made to pest control to remove rats from either a home or a business premises.

 In 2012/2013, this figure jumped to 243 calls made to investigate suspected rat issues.

 In 2013/2014, there were 214 calls received by the pest control department about a rat problem residents were experiencing.

 Earlier this year there were reports of giant rats being found in cities around the UK.

As yet there have been no reports of these creatures infiltrating the rural suburbs of West Lancashire and a council spokesman said they had no concerns they would be found in the near future.

The rat’s furry cousin, the mouse, has also been a problem that pest control have been called in to deal with.

The numbers of rodents reported has stayed relatively the same over the past three years but there has been small changes year on year.

In 2011/2012, there were 133 call-outs regarding  mice in homes or business premises.

 In 2012/2013, this figure rose marginally, with  137 calls being made to the pest control service.

113 calls were made in 2013/14 to the department about mice, which signals that the problem could be decreasing, albiet marginally.

Other pests that the pest control service had to deal with over the years measured included fleas, black ants and bed bugs.

The number of call-outs with all these species is relatively low with only eight calls made about bed bugs over the whole three years.

Fleas posed more of a problem with 37 cases recorded in 2011/2012, 55 cases reported in 2012/2013 and 44 instances catalogued in 2013/2014.

West Lancs Council  would encourage  any member of the public who has a pest problem, or thinks they may have,  to call them  to arrange a visit, survey or quote on 01695 577155 or alternatively to book an appointment online at  www.westlancs.gov.uk/pestcontrol.

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