PROFESSIONAL pest controllers have raised concerns that homeowners could be turning to DIY remedies to tackle infestations because of a lack of council support.
Simon Forrester, chief executive of the British Pest Control Association said: “Ten years ago, almost every local authority offered free or subsidised pest control, but the situation is now very different.
“More and more are cutting or discontinuing certain treatment delivery and others are having to charge for the service.
“People might therefore try to deal with issues themselves, but the treatment of pests is often complicated and specialised and it’s easy to get out of your depth. If some infestations are not treated properly, they can get out of hand and that can have consequences on physical health as well as the mental and social wellbeing not only of those affected but their neighbours too.”
Research by the not-for-profit British Pest Control Association has shown that many members of the public still believe their local councils are responsible for pest control problems.
Mr Forrester said councils still have a “moral obligation” to give people advice on how to deal with pests. He said: “Authorities forced to cut pest control services must refer members of the public to a qualified and professional company , or face the risk of having to pick up the pieces further down the line.”
A spokesman for South Lakeland District Council said: “Although we no longer provide an in-house pest control service, and haven’t done for a number of years, we do sometimes still receive calls about pest control issues. We can’t recommend or endorse any specific commercial pest control services, but our customer services staff would try to offer what advice they can.
“The only time the council may get directly involved is if the situation is serious enough to be considered an environmental health issue.”
Copeland Borough Council spokesman said: “Since the law changed in 2011, local authorities do not have a statutory duty to provide a pest treatment service. As a result, Copeland Borough Council no longer provide this service.
“Copeland does have a statutory duty to investigate suspected infestations and to require property and land owners to take action to control pests. “
“Last year we investigated 180 enquires.”