Bournemouth homeowners need to prepare for rat infestations this winter

Man walking past closed shops

Homeowners in Bournemouth need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario: a cold winter, empty commercial properties closed due to lockdowns and rats looking for somewhere warm to call home.

We are facing a challenging winter with potentially “perfect storm” conditions as the bad news of more lockdowns seems inevitable, rats are breeding like crazy in the quiet streets of Bournemouth – the fear is they will come into neighbouring homes looking for food when the cold hits

Jenny Rathbone,

Empty commercial buildings with dwindling food sources have been blamed for rats running riot in Bournemouth during lockdown and the summer months. Sightings have been up 140% over previous years. Now sources of food are now drying up as some shops and businesses are being forced to close due to local lockdown measures and poor trading conditions.

Hard ground caused by the dry summer and early cold snap is forcing families of rats to seek easier shelter, many reports coming from businesses of finding rats in voids, storerooms and quiet areas between walls and floors.

The issue currently is that poor trading conditions are forcing Bournemouth businesses to close, these are natural habits for rats, who would have made home close to businesses with careless food waste practises however these food sources are running out – they are now looking further afield.

We typically see a 50% increase in reports of rat problems in Bournemouth going into the winter months, but we are staffing up this year for even more, and from what we see it’s going to be a busy few months

Jenny added

Rats can typically have six litters of between 6 and 12 pups each year and a group of rats carries the unamusing nickname of a “mischief”, giving a clue to the damage and chaos a large infestation can cause. is advising Bournemouth homeowners to take proactive measures before winter really hits, these include:

  • Block up holes – Fill any gaps in brickwork, shed doors and any holes on external walls of properties including cellars and garages
  • Clear cupboards – Empty unused cupboards of bags, clothes, rags and keep them clean
  • Secure all food sources – Make sure food is not left out, tidy away any open food sources and keep worktops and floors clean of crumbs
  • Prepare traps – by leaving out rat traps you can pre-empt any future infestation, however, it is better to bait with official rat poison than leaving food scraps out

You can consult, but you can also get advice from the Bournemouth Borough Council.

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