THE areas with the biggest pest problems across the borough have been revealed. Local Democracy Reporter JOSEPH TIMAN speaks to Bolton's rat catchers to find out why the problems persists.

Postcodes in Bolton town centre, Farnworth and Great Lever all feature in the top ten visited by pest control in 2019.

Crompton Way, Hall Lane and Alberta Street had more than 100 rats-related visits between them while Crescent Road was the most visited for mice.

There were 30 rat-related emergency visits, three of which were in Anglia Grove at the start of the year.

Rats were by far the most common pest the local authority dealt with at 8,948 visits – almost ten times more than mice at second place.

But for those people who cannot wait for the council to visit their property and are willing to pay more to exterminate pests, private companies available with some offering a same day service.

Ian Smith from Horwich, who has run his own pest control business for around 20 years, told The Bolton News that rats seem to be getting inside buildings and homes more easily these days.

He claims that 8 out of ten cases of rats found in properties are caused by sewer faults.

This is when there are cracks and breakages in the pipes which connect to the sewer system.

He said: “Rats get into the fabric of the building. It’s something a lot of pest control companies don’t want to admit because it can be hard work to find the fault. It can be expensive, it can be frustrating. But at the moment that’s the key to the problem in Bolton and everywhere else."

Mr Smith, whose father also worked in pest control, said that flooded sewers have also contributed to an increase in rats-related call outs this winter.

Rats and mice tend to keep pest control services busiest in the autumn and throughout the winter.

Andrew Glover, director of Premier Environmental pest control, explained why.

He said: “You get problems with rats and mice throughout the year but it usually spikes in the winter because it’s cold so they look for a warm place where there’s more food readily available that outside."

Mr Glover said that having a rat infestations can often be a case of "bad luck" but sometimes the problem is linked to poor hygiene, building maintenance or pipes not being sealed properly.

He said that wasp nests start becoming an issue in the summer as well as ants.

There were hundreds of visits by the council's pest control team related to wasps, bedbugs and ants last year as well as a small number of cases of silverfish, moles and beetles.

Treatment for rats usually consists of two or three visits but an infestation of bed bugs in Russell Street this year required 15 visits for one course.

Properties on Jessie Street, Philips Avenue and Adrian Road were visited 21 times each for bed bugs while Pixmore Avenue and Kent Court were the most visited cockroaches.

However, Mr Glover said that he has noticed a decrease in the number of calls he receives related to cockroaches in the 15 years he has operated in Bolton.

The postcodes which the council visited the most over the last year were revealed following a Freedom of Information request by The Bolton News.

REVEALED: Top 10 postcodes visited by pest control for rats, wasps and others

READ MORE: ‘Fly-tipping epidemic’ linked to rise in pest control call-outs for rodents

The Middlebrook area topped the list but many visits were routine, relating to a commercial contract with Bolton Wanderers.

The council also has a contract with Bolton at Home relating to Paderborn Court accounting for multiple visits as a preventative measure.

A council spokesman said: “The council’s pest control team undertake visits to domestic and commercial properties across the borough.

“We understand that people may look at the figures and think there’s a bigger pest problem in certain areas but this is not necessarily the case.

“Quite often a number of visits will form one course of treatment. Many of the locations with higher number of visits are also due to us having commercial contracts in place, which means we will routinely visit on multiple occasions.

“This is the case for Bolton Wanderers hence the high number of visits to the Middlebrook area.

“We also routinely undertake a number of scheduled checks in some areas – this means that while these postcodes may show multiple visits, this is for prevention work rather than to tackle an infestation.”

To report a problem in your home call 01204 336553 or 336047 for businesses.