UK Pest Hotspots

Brick Lane lies in the heart of Tower HamletsThe annual British Pest Control Agency survey provides an indication of levels of pest infestation in the UK. Surveys are sent to 393 local authorities, district councils and unitary bodies in the UK and this year there was a 100% response rate. Although this survey doesn’t include data from pest control companies it does provide an insight into problem pests and highlights areas which are suffering infestation.

According to the BPCA report, the worst place to live for pest problems is the London Borough Of Tower Hamlets. Last year the council dealt with 80 pest infestations for every 1,000 people. Tower Hamlets is one of the most densely populated areas of the UK and comprises the areas of Bethnal Green, Poplar and Stepney. Here are some more key findings from the report:

  • Sunderland City Council and City of Glasgow Council have the worst combined rodent (rat and mice) problems in the UK.
  • Birmingham City Council has the biggest rat problem (31,104 services) over population and area with each Pest Control Operator undertaking 1,352 services.
  • 71% of UK councils provide a service, 12% use a contractor and 17% do not provide a pest control service.
  • Only 25% of councils in Northern Ireland provide a service.
  • 42% of cases dealt with by UK councils (or on their behalf) involved rats, 18% involved mice and 23% involved wasps.
  • Birmingham City Council undertook the most service requests in 2010/11 (34,795).
  • The Corporation of the City of London was the most underworked department with four staff covering 55 service requests.

Overall the survey indicated that there was an upward trend for cash-strapped authorities to cut or discontinue their pest control activities. One option for authorities struggling to fund pest control would be to charge for the service. The effect this may have on pest infestations would probably not be understood for several years and could be expensive to fix.

English local authority pest control services were the worst hit by austerity measures in 2010-11, with a 475% combined decrease in pest control staffing. The BPCA survey also revealed that in real terms, Northern Ireland has made the most cuts to staffing with only 42% of local authorities providing a pest control service, and having undergone a 1-in-4 cut in staffing. Last year there were over 700,000 pest control jobs throughout the UK. Almost 300,000 of all jobs were for rat infestations and 128,947 for mice infestations. It’s important to note that with their restricted budget local councils may only respond to pests which pose a risk to public health such as rodents. Bird control, such as putting up spikes, is not only time consuming and costly, it largely affects commercial businesses and for this reason many local councils don’t provide the service.

Most infested places in the UK

Birds – Edinburgh
Rats – Birmingham City Council
Mice – London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Cockroaches –  London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Bed Bugs – London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Ants – South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council


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