Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Shutterstock/Holger Kirk

Dublin requests for HSE pest control increased by around one-fifth last year

The callouts were spread more evenly across the north and south of the county compared to 2019.

MORE THAN 5,800 households and businesses requested help from HSE pest control services in Dublin last year.

This is an increase of approximately 20% on 2019, when HSE figures show 4,647 requests were made. 

Each request generally involves more than one visit before the pest situation is resolved, the HSE said. 

In total, 5,831 requests were issued last year.

23,324 visits took place, an increase on the 18,588 visits in 2019. 

Brendan Ryan, the managing director of Dublin pest control company, said his business has seen an estimated 35% increase in callouts between February 2020 and February 2021. 

He said the majority of this increase is coming from suburban households.

“There’s definitely an increase on the domestic side of the business,” Ryan told 

He said most people are “generating an awful lot more domestic waste and food waste in particular” over the past year. 

“We’re all eating at home far more frequently than we would in a non-Covid year,” he said, causing some “overflowing” bins that could entice rats and mice.

Ryan’s business has experienced a reduction in callouts to commercial premises like restaurants “mostly because so many are closed” due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

He said he “would be very slow to be seen screaming from the rooftops that the rodent population has gone out of hand” in Dublin during the past year as the increase in callouts can be attributed to several factors, from his experience.  

“The other aspect is that most of our [domestic] callouts arise because a rodent has been seen traversing through someone’s back garden,” he said. 

“Due to the pandemic, everyone is at home and seeing things they wouldn’t see if they were at work.”

He said rats and mice spotted in peoples’ gardens or around their homes could “simply be traversing from one part of a housing estate to another and may not have been seen in a non-Covid year”. 

New rules on pest controls were brought into Ireland in 2018 after a European Union agreement. 

Under the rules, the general public is restricted to using rodenticides only indoors for mice control, and in and around buildings for rat control, in both cases in tamper-resistant bait stations.

The rules also reduced the concentration of poison in products available to the general public. The use of these pesticides is tracked in stores, on farms and in the professional pest control sector.

The Department of Agriculture said rodenticides can cause “potential risks to people and animals from primary and secondary poisoning and to the environment”.

Last March, a spokesperson for the National Pest Technicians Association Chris Izart told RTÉ radio that these rules were “significantly adding” to rodent infestations in homes. 

North v South Dublin

In 2019, there was a wider disparity between HSE pest control callouts in Dublin North and South compared to last year.

There were just over 500 fewer callouts from South Dublin City and County compared to the north in 2019. 

Last year, there were 71 fewer callouts in the south compared with the north of the city and county.

The HSE said it takes an average of four visits to fix a rodent problem – this includes an initial visit, treatment, a follow-up to ensure the bait has been taken and a final visit. 

“Each year a large proportion of rodent infestations can be attributed to poorly maintained and defective drains and gullies, which facilitate rodents emerging from the drainage system,” the HSE said.

“Other contributory factors may include the improper storage of refuse, the dumping of refuse in public spaces, overgrown gardens and poorly maintained premises.”

The HSE added that owners and occupiers of land have the “primary responsibility” for keeping it free of rats and mice.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel