Rats have seen a massive 25% surge in numbers since lockdown, according to experts.
Pest controllers say the recent ‘Beast of the East 2’ cold snap, lengthy lockdowns and food stockpiling have created the perfect storm for rodents to thrive.
The population of rats in the UK has grown to “biblical levels” from 120million in 2019 to a huge 150m last year, they said.
And they fear rats have developed resistance to poisons and common pest control methods, which are becoming less effective in curbing the beastie surge.
Pest controllers have even spotted cunning rats moving a crisp packet and placing it over a glue trap to avoid being caught.
Infestations across the country are believed to have taken hold because vacant buildings have been locked and left for months on end.
Rats have had to adapt to their new world, with the closure of restaurants meaning less food on the street, by moving to empty commercial properties.
Pest controllers are telling landlords and building owners to check premises for infestations well before lockdown restrictions ease.
Rats especially are very bad news in any commercial building as they chew wires, internet cables, keyboards and electrical wiring, they said.
Stockpilers face mass invasion of rats and mice due to huge stashes of food
And they say their bite is six times stronger, relative to their size, than a great white shark and the damage can be severe.
“The big worry is when shops, restaurants and offices are unlocked in preparation for openings over the next few months,” said Jenny Rathbone from Pest.co.uk.
“Business owners are going to discover fairly advanced infestations of rats and mice.
“Rats will always find something to eat – even a leather sofa will do.
Rat population could explode in 2021 including rodents 'super resistant' to poison
“So, any property with food left around will attract a rodent and empty buildings and shops are ideal.
“Rats climb up wastewater pipes easily, and once in an empty building can breed like crazy and cause major damage.
“The worry now is that when lockdown restrictions are eased, and businesses tentatively open up again, that the growing populations of rodents will be discovered.
“We are gearing up for a busy year in 2021.”
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