More than 3,000 calls to pest control in Coventry in a single year

Pest controllers were called out more than 3,000 times in a single year in Coventry.

Latest figures show that Coventry City Council were kept busy in 2015-16 with a total of 3,061 call-outs to deal with everything from rats to bedbugs.

The full list of call-outs were: rats 1,847, mice 461, wasps 331, bedbugs 205, cockroaches 55, other insects 82, mammals 42, ants 31 and birds 7.

And Coventry was in the top 20 of the 364 local authorities who answered the survey when it came to average cost per call-out and number of call-outs for bedbugs.

The city council had an average cost of £149.44 per pest call-out in 2015-16 - the 20th highest average cost.

The authority also ranked 20th when it came to bedbug call-outs with a total of 205 at a rate of 0.59 per 1,000 people.

The data comes from the fifth study carried out by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) analysing nationwide demand for pest control.

The not-for-profit trade body sent Freedom Information (FOI) requests to all 390 district, borough and unitary authorities in the UK and all but 26 replied.

The figures also showed that North Warwickshire Borough Council was called 690 times about rats - a rate of 11.13 per every 1,000 people which ranked them as eighth highest in the UK.

The authority has been contacted for comment.

Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA technical manager, said: “Our study provides the most comprehensive indication of the demand placed on local authorities for pest control.

“There may be a number of localised factors why certain areas seem to have high numbers of particular pests.

“Some authorities, for example, will have many urban areas within their boundaries while others will be largely rural.

“But it’s important to recognise higher figures could simply illustrate that a local authority is working proactively to manage any issues.”

The survey reveals the number of reports responded to by councils across the UK plummeted by 22% last year.

It shows staffing levels within their pest control teams has dropped by almost a quarter since 2012 and response rates have dropped by 33% during the same period.

Mrs Ward-Thompson said: “Local authorities have been under immense pressure to produce savings over the last five years and pest control seems to have been one of the services to have taken a big hit.

“Many councils who once provided pest control free of charge have now either introduced charges or done away with their service altogether in a bid to balance the books.

“And our survey reveals many of those still offering a service are responding to significantly fewer reports due to a lack of resources, which is quite alarming.”

A spokesperson for Coventry City Council said: “As well as dealing with call-outs from the public, our officers also manage pest control contracts for businesses and organisations across the city and are responsible for animal welfare.

“This includes stray dogs, tackling animal cruelty and licensing premises such as horse riding stables and dog kennels.

“Our budget helps us to provide all these services and more - not just pest control enquiries.

“Many of our pest control services are free for domestic properties. This includes treatment of rats, cockroaches, and bed bugs. “We do charge for treatments of mice (inside the house) fleas, wasps, squirrels, moles and other nuisance pest problems."

A statement from North Warwickshire Borough Council said: "North Warwickshire is a predominantly rural area, which does not have a problem with rats.

"North Warwickshire Borough Council has provided a service to residents, which until recently was completely free of charge.

"Like most other councils, modest charges were introduced this year (while some councils provide no service at all) and we have yet to see any whole-year impact on demand.

"In addition, the service has good connections and strong public awareness through word of mouth. These factors may explain our position in a recent league table.”