Pest control experts warn of 'plague of rats' resistant to poison


Pest control experts warned of a ‘plague’ of super rats immune from poison invading homes – and a distraught mum says attempts to kill the rodents have been fruitless.

Edinburgh is said to be the worst place in Scotland for rodents, with the blame being placed on ‘lazy’ neighbours who do not dispose of waste properly in shared areas.

Pest control firm Wee Critters Pest Control estimated that there was a 20 per cent increase in call-outs year on year, while owner Sylvia Hill said ‘amateur’ poisons bought by concerned residents would barely make a difference to the problem.

Mum-of-three Laura McQueenie, 27, has said problems with rats at the council flat in Niddrie, Edinburgh, where she lives with her sons and young niece, have been persistent.

Rats have infested Laura McQueenie’s home. (SWNS)
Rats have infested Laura McQueenie’s home. (SWNS)

She said the living conditions were “disgraceful” and “horrific”, and blamed bins, describing them as a health hazard.

After the birth of her youngest son, seven months ago, the social work student began to realise the scale of the problem.

Laura said: “Two rats have died in my kitchen sink and there are many more we have seen.

“Every evening I hoover and sanitise all surfaces before bed.”

Laura McQueenie fears she is being plagued by rats resistant to poison.
Laura McQueenie fears she is being plagued by rats resistant to poison.

The young mum lives with her eight-year-old son, two-year-old boy, and seven-month old baby, as well as her 15-month old niece.

Laura said problems with rats were affecting the health of her youngest child – and said poison poured into the rodents’ holes did nothing to solve the problem.

She added: “It is not an environment to be bringing up children and we shouldn’t have to live like this.”

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Pest control boss Sylvia said she believes rodents are ‘clever’ enough to avoid eating certain kinds of poison.

She said: “I don’t think people realise that mice are very clever to the point that they go above and beyond to avoid the amateur poison.

“The rats are just a major issue in Edinburgh at the moment.”

She believes the Gorgie area of Edinburgh could be ‘the worst in Scotland’ for rat infestations – and described the problem as a ‘plague’.

A total of 4,788 pest control requests were received by the City of Edinburgh Council last year with the Forth, Sighthill/Gorgie and Craigentinny/Duddingston wards proving to be the most problematic areas of the city.

And there were 50,000 complaints about missed bin collections.

However, although it appears that the rat population is increasing, the local authority said it had not experienced a significant increase in vermin callouts.

Cllr Lesley Macinnes, convener for Transport and Environment, said: “We remain surprised by these comments and would be interested in hearing from the pest control firm, as this information goes against our evidence of what is happening in the city.”

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