Drowned rats, grounded wasps and fleas jumping for joy: the UK Pest Census 2012

2012 was a bumper year for ants2012 saw the driest March since 1953, the wettest April on record and a washout summer. This meant unpredictability (and sometimes misery) for human populations, but what about the other animals that inhabit our homes and gardens?

Some pests thrived in these conditions whilst others have seen their numbers dwindle. Below is Rentokil’s take on which had a vintage year and which didn’t fare so well.

Persistent rainfall in June and July saw rats being flushed from burrows and drains and heading into homes. Rentokil then reported an increase in rodent-related call-outs in October as the UK experienced an early ‘cold snap’. This led to a 25% spike in demand for pest controllers’ services as rats and mice rushed indoors.
Verdict: 2012 was a bad year for rats and mice

Heavy showers and short spells of fine sunshine in July created the perfect environment for ants to thrive. Incidences of ant problems were commonplace this summer, with Rentokil recording 64% more call-outs for this problem in July 2012 than at the same time in 2011.
Verdict: Good year for ants

A damp spring dented wasp populationsWasps
If you’re a regular picnicker then you may have noticed fewer unwanted guests in 2012. A cold, wet spring dented wasp numbers dramatically, with Rentokil seeing less than half the number of residential wasp enquiries in 2012 compared to 2011.
Verdict: Bad year for wasps

Fleas have been springing up everywhere over the past year. In August it was reported that infestations had risen by over 150% since 2010, and by 46% in the preceding twelve months. Fleas are thriving in our soft furnishings and carpets after being carried into homes by pets and, unfortunately, a quick vacuum is not enough to solve the problem.
Verdict: Good year for fleas

Mosquitoes & Flies
Pools of stagnant water and muggy, damp conditions created the perfect breeding conditions for many species of fly, including mosquitoes, which are not often found in the UK at all. Pharmacists reported a 150% increase in sales of anti-bite creams and sprays in August.
Verdict: Good year for mosquitoes and flies

As ever, cockroach numbers have held steady. They are such successful pests that weather and changes to the human environment barely affect them. They live almost exclusively indoors, and as long as there are dirty kitchens out there, there will be cockroaches.
Verdict: Average year for cockroaches

Gulls and pigeons got a little hot under the feathers in 2012 after Rentokil launched AviGo, a gel-like substance, containing chilli pepper extract, which is applied to surfaces where birds land. They then carry the gel away on their feet, tucking them up next to their genitals. After a few trips to the same spot, they soon learn their lesson!
Verdict: Bad year for birds

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