SOUTH Tyneside is a national pest hotspot, a new study has revealed.
The borough was ranked fourth in a league table of pest control call-outs across the UK – and had the highest demand in the North East.
South Tyneside Council’s pest control team was called into action 4,333 times in 12 months to deal with a host of troublesome rodents and insects, from rats and mice to cockroaches, birds and bedbugs.
A startling 1,177 reports were made to the council to deal with ant problems – 7.95 calls per 1,000 residents – the highest percentage in the country.
The borough also ranked eighth highest for complaints about birds, 25th for mice, 32nd in the country for wasp worries and 73rd for bedbugs.
The local authority dealt with 718 calls over rats in 2012 – 4.85 calls per 1,000 residents – putting it 77th in the nationwide league table.
The statistics have been compiled by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), which sent Freedom of Information requests to all councils asking for the service demand figure for the 12 months up to April 2012.
The BPCA is concerned the tough economic climate could lead to pest control cutbacks, making it harder for authorities to respond to calls for help. Simon Forrester, chief executive, said: “There may be a number of local factors why a council appears towards the top of one of the lists, but on a national scale the BPCA is concerned that pest control budgets are being hit.
“That may make it harder for councils to respond as effectively as they would like, which could have implications for both quality of life and public health.”
A council spokesman said: “We have a highly-experienced team of pest control technicians offering advice and support to residents and businesses in dealing with a variety of pest problems.
“These figures reflect the high demand for our service, which is well-recognised locally, and is generally where our residents turn for assistance in resolving any issues.
“The council also offers competitive rates compared to private pest control contractors and up until April 2012, many households received free pest control treatments if they were in receipt of certain benefits. People living in council-owned housing receive treatments which are paid for by South Tyneside Homes.”