Pest control experts have warned of rat infestations when hospitality firms open up again post-lockdown.
Firms have noticed a huge increase in residential callouts over the course of the pandemic with millions of Brits effectively housebound for much of the last 12 months.
But they are expecting that to shift to pubs, restaurants and bars when they reopen in April for outdoor serving.
Experts believe the rubbish suddenly being created by British businesses will prove a huge attraction to rodents.
Sam Devereux, of JG Pest Control in London, said: "People being at home more has seen the number of residential callouts increase.
"In 10 years this is the busiest winter we have ever had.
"But now with the weather improving and pubs, bars and restaurants opening up again, rodents are going to be migrating elsewhere.
"We have contracts with pubs, restaurants and takeaways and while they have stopped with them being closed, but we are expecting to have a busy spring and summer with them.
"As the temperature changes, they will be less inclined to seek shelter in people's homes and this will be perfect timing with food and drink businesses opening up again."
Rat sightings have soared during the pandemic, according to the British Pest Control Association.
The organisation, which represents 700 pest control companies across the country, said its members reported a 51% hike in rodent activity during the first lockdown in spring 2020 and a 78% increase when the shutdown returned in November.
British Pest Control Association technical officer Natalie Bungay said: "It seems their lifestyle patterns are changing.
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"Rats in particular are also becoming more visible in areas of population. With less football across cities and towns, there is less associated food waste being left in bins and on the floor.
"Also, bin areas behind restaurants and pubs are empty and free of food waste making it unavailable for the local rat population."
Mr Devereux said his company are also bracing themselves for an infestation of bed bugs as the human population becomes more mobile with lockdown set to be eased.
He said: "Bedbugs travel on clothing and as international travel ramps back up again, there will be more movement on that front.
"It will take a few months for infestations to sprout up but we're expecting it.
"This will be a natural phenomenon of people moving around more and people staying in hotels and Airbnb properties."
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