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Pest controllers in limbo while awaiting key worker decision

BPCA Survey

Reduced waste collections, pest controllers being unable to carry out preventive work, food not being stored properly and empty offices could together result in a surge in public health pests say experts Cleankill Pest Control.

These are just some of the reasons why, says Cleankill Managing Director Paul Bates, pest controllers need to be added to the list of key workers during the Corona Virus pandemic.

Another important reason he says is that if buildings become infested while they are unoccupied, staff will be unable to return immediately because of the health risks.

Managing Director Paul Bates explains: “We are urging all businesses, not just our own customers, to make sure preventive pest control is continued. It’s critical in places like London where pests can often move from one premises to another. So, for instance, many restaurants that had to close their doors with only a few hours’ notice from the Government may have left foodstuffs in the premises that will attract rodents. If there are offices above, the rodents will find their way into those and soon you will have a very expensive and complex problem to solve.”

Paul added that Cleankill is still trying to offer emergency treatment as and when required. “I am also looking at the furloughing options, however that is not easy as at this stage we really don’t know what will happen to the pest situation going forward. We are already seeing situations where bin collections are not happening – so this will increase rats being seen. We are very much caught in the middle of knowing what to do at the moment.

“We are getting requests to suspend service in a lot of places which we are advising against. Pests do not know there is a pandemic and more people being at home is meaning more people are spotting the problems during the day so we are getting a surprising number of calls.

“Several food suppliers and property management companies have stressed that as far as they are concerned pest control is a vital service – if pests get into the food chain then that could potentially add another major risk into an already fragile situation – similarly if pests build up in domestic dwellings then infection, public health and mental health could all be affected.”

Another reason, says Paul, to keep pests under control is to limit the risk of catching other illnesses and adding to the strain on the NHS. 

“As the temperatures increase, so will the flies which can carry bacteria and e-coli among other germs. It is important to keep bin areas clean to discourage flies.

“In some areas councils are collecting be food waste weekly, non-recyclable rubbish every two weeks but will not be collecting recycling at all for the time being. Cleankill recommend that all plastic meat/fish containers and tins are rinsed of residues to reduce the risk of attracting rodents and flies,” added Paul.

Householders who purchased large quantities of food prior to the lockdown are also being advised to make sure it is stored securely to avoid attracting pests. 

“The upside of people spending more time at home is that they have more time to sort out cupboards and are using up old store cupboard ingredients. Inevitably people are finding old bags of flour that have been infested. These should be quickly thrown away and the cupboard where it was stored cleaned and disinfected. Organic goods are particularly susceptible to stored product insects like Biscuit Beetle, Grain Weevils and Flour Beetle as they have not been fumigated during warehouse storage. 

Extra vacuuming and tidying will help to deter pests like moths in the home.

The British Pest Control Association is currently lobbying the Government for pest control workers to be designated as key workers. It is also raising awareness of the need to keep pests under control during the pandemic. It is currently running a survey, which can be reached here.

About Cleankill

Cleankill Pest Control has been providing pest control services to London and other parts of country since 1995. Set up by former Rentokil employees, Cleankill was founded upon the desire to create a company that placed customer service, respect for the environment, care for the community and staff development on an equal footing with profitability.

Cleankill Pest Control deals with ‘distress’ pests such as wasps and fleas, as well as preventative maintenance against public health pests such as mice, rats, cockroaches and birds. The company prides itself on fast and efficient service delivery and aims to be recognised as a market leader for innovation, ‘green’ and new pest control techniques. Cleankill is also a licensed waste remover.


For more information, contact Suzi Christie on 07590 591140 or e-mail