UK households have been issued a rat warning after pest controllers dealt with 743 infestations every day in 2023.

Rodents aren’t the only pests plaguing the UK, as 2023 also saw an increase in the number of residential call outs for both cockroaches and bedbugs.

Councils experienced a 23 per cent increase in bedbug call outs compared to 2022, from 11,819 visits to 14,587.

Call outs for cockroaches also increased by three per cent compared to 2022, from 8,455 to 8,706 visits. 

Oxford Mail:

However, rats and mice accounted for 271,343 visits to homes in 2023, Direct Line Home Insurance has revealed.

Rodents can cause significant structural damage to homes by gnawing under floorboards, within stud walls and drywall linings, or by making holes in loft insulation which can cause condensation and rot in the joists.

If mice and rats chew through plastic pipes it can also lead to damp, or flooding whilst rodents chewing through electrical cables could cause significant fire risks. 

Rodents are known to carry diseases such as Salmonella and Listeria, which can easily spread to humans, normally through rodent urine, droppings, or by coming into contact with food preparation areas. 

Maria Lawrence, Product Manager for Direct Line Home Insurance said: “The public will understandably be squeamish upon learning about the scale of pest problems faced by authorities in the UK, particularly as they can create real issues for people’s health.

“Across the UK there is a huge difference in the costs people face, depending on where they live, with either free services or significant charges to tackle these issues.”

Ian Andrew, Chief Executive at British Pest Control Association, added: "It's absolutely vital that householders consider calling in a BPCA member at the first sign of rodent activity. Rats are a serious public health pest with rapid breeding cycles, which means an infestation can escalate quickly.

"Failed DIY treatments can make the issue worse, as well as potentially endangering other people or non-target species.

"BPCA members now automatically qualify for TrustMark status, because they have the technical expertise and training needed to investigate a pest issue, identify the root cause and work with householders to protect their safety, health and wellbeing."

How to get rid of rats

To help homeowners prevent pest invasions, Direct Line Home Insurance has provided the following five tips:

Keep refuse bins sealed

Avoid attracting rodents to your property in the first place by keeping all rubbish bins containing food waste properly sealed, clearing away garden waste and by using rodent safe bird feeders.

Keep surfaces clean

Rodents are drawn to food debris so wiping down surfaces regularly, clearing up food spillages and throwing away uneaten food will help to prevent unwanted visitors.

Fill cracks and crevasses

Many rodents are crafty at finding entry routes into the home. Prevent them from getting in by sealing gaps around doors and windows. Also block holes above or under the sink as many pests will use this area to gain access to water.

Seal food

Store food in safe and enclosed containers to prevent rodents from being tempted to visit your home.

Avoid clutter

Rodents love hiding in dark areas so keep the home clutter-free to remove opportunities for them to set up a home in your house.