Up to 1.5 million animals Bonn has a problem with rats

Bonn · Bonn is home to significantly more rats than people. The city is now relying on a new strategy to combat the pests.

For many they are not only an unpleasant sight but are also carriers of diseases such as tuberculosis or jaundice. To curb the rat population in Bonn, the city has this month again assigned rat control to an external specialist company.

The city puts the contract for rat control out to public tender every three years. In the tender, the civil engineering department originally estimated an amount of Euro 500,000 for the three years. “The actual contract amount of around Euro 185,000 is, however, significantly lower,” the press office said in response to a GA enquiry. The costs were lower because the contracted company is located near Bonn and can “reach the relevant work location quickly and cheaply.”

Experts estimate there are up to five rats per inhabitant in city areas – this would mean a population of up to 1.5 million animals in Bonn. However, there is no exact statistic for the city. “The rat population has remained almost constant in recent years,” explained the press office. In densely populated areas in particular, rats find sufficient food sources. According to the city, many rats live in the city centre and in the town centres of Beuel and Bad Godesberg, with their old buildings and sewers. However, green spaces, stream and river courses and railway lines also attract the animals. “Floods, the Rhine, many gastronomic areas, but also the behaviour of citizens are factors which boost rat infestation,” said an employee of a pest control company. These are factors that not only affect Bonn but also the entire Rhineland.

New strategy reduces costs

The city is drawing on two sources to curb the population: citizens’ services are responsible for the areas above ground while the civil engineering department supervises the sewerage system. Up to now, the appointed specialist company has put poisoned bait in all the sewer shafts every 18 months. This is now no longer possible because of a new EU-wide Biocides Regulation. “Permanent toxic baiting is banned,” explains a pest controller from the company Apex in Cologne. Companies are now obliged to check the bait for bites and carcasses at the latest one week after laying it out. This is to ensure that no other animals, such as cats and dogs, for example, come into contact with the poison.

Costs should also be reduced through the new strategy. In the past, the comprehensive laying of bait led to increased costs. A lot of poisoned bait remained untouched. Now the control in the sewerage system is to be adapted to the actual infestation. “Bait will therefore only still be laid out where a rat infestation is actually reported,” explains the press office. The specialists will only continue to use poisoned bait until no further infestation is detected. Afterwards, all bait will be removed from the sewer shafts. Owners are responsible for private properties. Residents can also contribute to rat control: leftover food should under no circumstances be disposed of down the toilet and rubbish should only stored in closed containers.

Anyone with information on rat infestations can call the city of Bonn on (0228) 77 25 45 or (0228) 77 41 40.

Original text: Sabrina Bauer. Translation: kc.out

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