Pest control experts battle plague of mice and rats


PEST control experts are battling a plague of mice and rats in Scotland.

New figures reveal that councils in Scotland’s four biggest cities receive an average of 16 calls a day from people reporting infestations of the rodents.

The official stats, gained through Freedom of Information, show that pest control officers received almost 60,000 reports over a ten year period.

People can go weeks without realising rats are in their home.


In Dundee, figures show that the number of recorded mice infestations has risen by more than a third, from 267 in 2001 to 422 in 2011.

Pest control experts blame bad hygiene for the extent of the problem in Scotland, and warn the public is putting itself at risk of contracting serious disease.

Edinburgh council was only able to provide figures from 2006 onwards, but revealed they had 14,969 mice call outs and 4,722 calls about rats over the six year period. They also revealed the best and worst areas of the city.

The Forth area had the highest number of mice infestations, with 1,968 recorded over the period.

By comparison Drum Brae and the Gyle were the least affected with just 109 reported instances of mice infestations.

Craigentinny and Duddingston had the worst recorded rat problem, with 323 reports, with Sighthill and Gorgie close behind with 319. Drum Brae and Gyle had only 58 reports over the six years, making it the lowest area in Edinburgh.

Aberdeen City council revealed it had 3,066 mice and 1,373 rat infestations reported since 2001.

Dundee had 4446 reports of mice infestations and 2116 of rat infestations over the ten year period. Mice infestations has risen 267 in 2001 to 422 in 2011.

Glasgow provided figures from 2007 onwards, revealing there were 12,609 cases of  Mice and 16, 622 of rats.

Tom McLevy, of Scottish Borders-based Graham Pest Control, said:  “Bad hygiene causes infestations in the majority of cases.

“Rats are harder to spot as they live outside and will come in to homes at night to forage for food.

“You could live with rats in your home for some time before realising. You may only discover you have rats after they chew threw a pipe for example.”


A spokesman for Aberdeen City Council said: “It is difficult to accurately assess the rat and mice populations in Aberdeen but anecdotal evidence by pest control officers suggests that the populations have remained fairly stable.

“Aberdeen City Council has a statutory duty to ensure that owners and occupiers keep their land and property free from rodent infestations. All complaints are investigated and, where appropriate, our pest control staff will undertake pesticide treatment of infestations.”

Glasgow council added: “Glasgow City Council provides a number of pest control services, including a free service for the investigation and treatment of infestations of mice within residential property.

“Officers will also advise on maintenance required to stop further mice gaining access to the home – and any hygiene issues that could be providing a source of food.

“House mice are no longer particularly common in the city and most infestations that do occur are actually field mice. As these are a perfectly normal feature of our local wildlife, the council will not treat infestations outdoors or in outbuildings.”


  1. Maybe they should blame people feeding them seeds like in the picture lol?

    In all seriousness a rodent outbreak will most likely mean a flue out break or something similar as these pests can transmit viruses and bacteria to humans very easy.

  2. Sometime we become so worried about rats. Rats could be trapped with a great trick just using of your standard wooden rat trap. These can also be bought twelve at any given time to save cash. For those who have rat infestation within a loft or outbuilding, the very best strategy is to place out as numerous traps as you possibly can and bait them all at one time.

  3. The data is from the British Pest Control Association National Pest Survey 2012, and covers every Local Authority across the UK. Some very interesting comparisons between the four home countries.

    Carole – Your idea about using lots of traps may not work because of neophobia (rats’ avoidance of new objects in their environment) plus behavioural resistance (once one rat is caught, the others will stay away from the traps).
    May I suggest anyone facing this problem consults their Local Authority, or failing that (as not all provide a service) you speak to a professional pest controller who is a member of a recognised trade association like BPCA.

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