Rat crisis hits Cardiff: “it is only going to get worse”

Cardiff Council reports a surge in rat infestations compared to last year’s.

Residential homes and commercial businesses are increasingly facing rat invasions.

Between January 2022 and December 2023, rat callouts to Cardiff Council’s buildings increased by over 100, with 289 rat sightings recorded in 2022 and 306 in 2023.

Several private pest control companies also noted an increase in callouts.

Gareth Davies, from the rat control service Pest and Property said “I am getting 10 new calls every day, and it is only going to get worse.” He notes an 80 percent increase in rat callouts reported in Cardiff since November 2023.

With 34 years of experience, Mr. Davies asserts that the current rat problem is the worst he has seen. He identifies Cathays, Splott, City Centre, and Canton as the worst affected areas.

Litter strewn on streets and poor waste management drive the increase of rats.

Mr. Davies blames governmental decisions and outlines several reasons for the worsening situation. He said “Definitely it is because of litter on the streets. Refuse collections by the council used to be once a week, and it is now once in three weeks.”

The replacement of hard plastic bins with recycling sacks, while environmentally friendly is easily penetrated by rats exacerbating the problem of litter on the streets.

Mr. Davies also criticises the ban on glue traps, which came into effect in October 2023 across Wales. “As a professional pest controller, I believe it was the wrong move. It has become very challenging to catch them now,” he said.

However, the cruelty inflicted on rats through the use of glue traps, the non-selective nature of trapping, environmental concerns, and ineffectiveness in pest control make glue traps widely condemned.

Mr. Davies also cites neglect of sewage maintenance and sewer flooding during rainfall contribute to driving rats into homes.

In response, the Cardiff Council advises the public to remove potential nesting sites and properly dispose of food waste. A council spokesperson said, “Rats are adaptable, highly mobile and breed rapidly. This combination makes it a difficult task to eradicate rats without suitable training.” 

There have been multiple reports of rats dragging food from homes and restaurants across Cardiff.

Residents in Cardiff have expressed growing frustration over the presence of rats in their area.

“I used to love this neighbourhood. But now, I see rats running here and there every time I step outside,” said Carol Jenkins, a long-time resident of Roath. “It’s not just a nuisance anymore; it’s a proper health hazard. You can’t leave food out for a minute without it attracting a whole rat posse.”

Looking ahead, Mr. Davies predicts a bleaker scenario, “It is only going to get worse because refuse collection is delayed, and the weather is getting wetter, not warmer and drier.”

Carol emphasises the need for immediate action, “If the government was mindful about their rubbish disposal, we wouldn’t be in this mess. But something needs to change, and fast. Our community can’t continue living like this.”