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Pest controllers battle exotic ants, rats and cockroaches in Barnet
Rats capable of chewing through concrete and exotic Pharaoh Ants are just some of the pests that have run amok in the borough of Barnet over the past three years.
Barnet Borough Council’s pest controllers receive between eight and ten calls a day from people reporting infestations.
A Times Series Freedom of Information request has revealed that cockroaches, rats, mice, wasps, exotic ants, fleas, pigeons and bedbugs are among the list of vermin found lurking around the borough.
Stuart Finesilver, who has been a pest controller in Barnet for five years, said: “The most common pests are rats and mice and we do get a lot of wasps in the summer.
“You can have the most immaculate house in a really nice place but if there’s a hole in an air brick, for example, pests can get in. Mice will explore holes just to see what’s on the other side.
“Sometimes we have to go crawling after rats in small places like drains and sewers surrounded by faecal matter – nothing affects me more than the smell.”
Describing some of the pests he has been called to exterminate, Mr Finesilver said: “Sometimes jobs are more challenging – one rat we came across had chewed through concrete. They can even build up enough pressure to go through steel.
“We get about four or five cases of Pharaoh Ants each year. They are small ants, between 1mm to 2mm in length, and orange in colour. They’re known for contaminating food and getting into wounds and dressings because they eat proteins and sugars.”
The council has spent approximately £98,000 per year on exterminating pests in the borough.
Several methods of extermination are used including pesticide sprays to kill insects, gels for cockroaches and rodenticides that contain anti-coagulants in the form of pellets and pastes.
The council said it rarely uses traps to capture rodents inside premises and takes steps to minimise the effect on other species in the area.
In the past three years there have been a total of 4,934 requests for pest treatments in Barnet, but Mr Finesilver said a “holistic” approach has led to a decrease in the number of call-outs since he has worked at the council.
The pest team also works with other organisations including Thames Water and Green Space in order to target potential areas where rodents could breed.
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