Pest control experts are reporting that many areas of Hong Kong are experiencing serious rat problems, after hot weather has increased rodent breeding rates.
Some pest control officers have reported double-digit increases in call-outs to deal with rat problems in the past few months. They have also reported that more rats have been found during the daytime, and on higher floors of buildings. Rats are nocturnal creatures, which means they usually only come out at night.
Gary Yam Wing-keung, an experienced rat catcher, told SCMP that orders were up 20 to 30 per cent since April, compared with the same period last year.
“A team of three colleagues caught about 20 rats in just one day, at a mall near Tseung Kwan O MTR station. Some were found in the flats [above the mall],” Yam said, adding that recent hot weather and underground construction have been driving rodents out from their nests.
“When the climate changes suddenly, rats breed more quickly as part of a self-adjustment,” Yam explained.
According to the latest statistics from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), the number of rodents caught by the government has been on the rise in recent years. A total of 41,038 rodents were trapped and poisoned by the department in 2017. This is around 10,000 more than in 2014.
The rodent infestation rate – which is the percentage of bait consumed compared to the amount of bait left in that area – in Mong Kok was 6.6 per cent in 2017 – the highest in Hong Kong. Wong Tai Sin had the lowest infestation rate in the city, at just 1 per cent.
The FEHD said the rodent situation in the city was “generally under control”. According to the department’s website, the most important factor in preventing rodent infestation is to remove food sources, and block off spaces where rats can live or move around.