Homeowners in Derbyshire are being urged to guard their homes against a potential invasion of rats this autumn.
Pest experts fear rodent numbers could soar in the next few months boosted by a combination of cooler temperatures and increasingly wet weather.
The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is warning the furry menaces may abandon their summer habitats and seek food and shelter indoors.
Bolsover District Council responded to more than 760 issues at a rate of more than 10 per 1,000 residents in 2015/16 – the 15th highest in Britain.
Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA technical manager, said: “Rain washes rats out of sewers and other nesting places and, inevitably, they go looking for shelter in higher ground. They’ll try to find some sort of dwelling and that could be lofts, garages or sheds.
“Our members report the number of calls to deal with infestations often rises in the autumn when the temperature drops often quite dramatically and we’re expecting a similar pattern this time.”
The following steps are advised to avoid infestation:
- Inspect properties thoroughly and seal up any external gaps, holes or crevices
- Remove potential nesting sites by keeping yards and gardens clean and tidy
- Ensure doors and windows can be closed properly and that drain inspection covers are well maintained.
- Keep bins well maintained with their lids closed, dispose of rubbish carefully
- Areas around bird feeders should be kept clean and pet food bowls should not be left out overnight