HARTLEPOOL Council pest control staff dealt with more than three reports a day last year, new figures show.
Workers handled 1,165 calls in the last year, a rate of 12.66 calls per 1,000 residents – the 65th highest of more than 300 authorities that reported results.
If residents try to deal with issues themselves, or bring in unqualified controllers because they’re cheap, infestations can quickly get out of hand. The problem then becomes much more expensive and carries a greater risk to public health.BPCA chief executive Simon Forrester
The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) figures show the council’s environmental teams responded to 670 issues with rats, 100 with mice and 239 with wasps during the year 2013/14.
The town compares well to other council areas in the North East.
South Tyneside is ranked seventh nationwide, Sunderland is eighth, and Newcastle is the national pest blackspot, with just over 50 call-outs per 1,000 residents.
Pests covered by the data to the end of March include rats, mice, bedbugs, cockroaches, wasps, ants and birds.
BPCA chief executive Simon Forrester said: “Our study provides a comprehensive and graphic indication of the demand placed on local authorities for pest control.
“There are many localised reasons why a particular area could have a high prevalence of a certain pest, but we’re concerned that services are being cut across the country.
“The cost of professional treatments, either through the local authority or the private sector, can be prohibitive when people are struggling to make ends meet.
“But if residents try to deal with issues themselves, or bring in unqualified controllers because they’re cheap, infestations can quickly get out of hand. The problem then becomes much more expensive and carries a greater risk to public health.”
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “We continue to operate a full and active pest control service, providing a wide range of advice and action to householders across Hartlepool.
“Prevention is always better than cure, and with that in mind we would strongly urge people to follow the ‘Ten Top Tips For The General Public’ in the British Pest Control Association’s national survey report.”