Search

Rats, maggots, and snakes - oh my! Pests infest Hampstead and Highgate in summer heatwave

15:45 07 August 2014

Dozens of rats have been sighted in Highgate Wood and Queen

Dozens of rats have been sighted in Highgate Wood and Queen's Wood. Picture: Annmarie Meredith

© Annmarie Meredith

A scourge of maggots, rats and other unwelcome pests have ­infested parts of Hampstead and Highgate since the summer heat wave began.

Maggots have infested bins in The Miltons, Highgate. Picture: Cllr Bob HareMaggots have infested bins in The Miltons, Highgate. Picture: Cllr Bob Hare

Large numbers of rats have been regularly spotted scampering across Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Wood, in Muswell Hill, amid the soaring temperatures – including one snapped by A­nnmarie ­Meredith in Highgate Wood.

More dragonflies and squirrels are also flitting across the Heath and Highgate Wood during the hot weather, according to the City of London Corporation, which runs the open spaces.

It has brought in pest controllers to tackle the rodent problem.

Mrs Meredith, of Onflow Gardens, Muswell Hill, said she sees about 10 rats every time she walks through the parkland. “They seem quite tame,” she said. “But there are lots of children walking through the pathways and rats carry all sorts of diseases, they’re not very hygienic. The typical reaction would be to scream.”

Tony Bond, director of North London Pest Control, which covers Camden, blames a mild winter for the increase in rats, rather than the recent heatwave. “There must be a very local food source,” he said. “If you are seeing rats in the daylight, there has been a large increase in the population.”

Jonathan Meares, the City of London’s Highgate Wood manager, said: “There are a combination of factors, such as the heat and sunshine, and the fact that there are lots of wild foods available at the moment. We think the mild winter has also had an impact.

“We expect this to die down as it gets cooler, and there are also a number of predators on site, like tawny owls and sparrow hawks. We’ve also brought in pest control – and as part of the Highgate Wood team’s operational work we’re rat baiting down their burrows.”

In Highgate, hundreds of small, green maggots have crawled all over wheelie bins in The Miltons, Highgate.

Chris Riley, 45, chairman of The Miltons Residents’ Association, from Milton Avenue, branded it a “health risk”.

“People shouldn’t really be living like this,” he said “I’ve never seen maggots here before, that’s probably because of the weather.

“There will be more insects when it’s like this because the bins are there for too long.

“One resident was saying she has had people not wanting to rent ­because of the state of the bins.”

He said the pests are further proof that Haringey Council’s fortnightly rubbish collections do not work. Highgate Cllr Clive Carter called the infestation “disgusting”, and said that all three Lib Dem Highgate councillors will continue to press Labour-led Haringey Council to bring weekly collections back to The Miltons.

A spokesman for Haringey Council said: “We provide dedicated bins for people to dispose of recyclable waste, including all food and organic waste, and these are collected every week.

“This comprehensive recycling service means that only a very small amount of non-recyclable waste has to be left in general waste bins for fortnightly collection. Residents can take steps to ensure their bins do not attract flies, which lay eggs and produce maggots. This includes ensuring food and food waste is not left ­exposed, rinsing packaging before recycling and disposing of food waste correctly.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

08:00
Tutor Terri Murray, with former students Kain Egan and Mabel Evans at Hampstead Fine Arts College. Picture: Polly Hancock

Two former Belsize Park pupils are set to launch the UK’s first billboard advertising campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM).

Yesterday, 20:35
Geoffrey Lederman leaving Blackfriers Crown Court after an earlier court hearing. Picture: Dieter Perry

A pensioner who killed a young mother in front of her husband and toddler after careering onto a pavement in his vintage Mercedes has had his jail term cut by a third - after top judges decided to show him “mercy”.

Yesterday, 23:37
Nurses and midwives form a picket line outside the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead during industrial action last October. Picture: Polly Hancock

Planned strike action by health workers in a row over NHS pay has been suspended after a breakthrough in talks.

Yesterday, 18:16
Marina Litvinenko outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The murder of Alexander Litvinenko was an “act of nuclear terrorism on streets of a major city”, the barrister for his widow said at the opening of a public inquiry into his death eight years ago.

Most read news

Fans of cool pictures of fire – this one’s for you.

Have you noticed lots of ladies with smudged lippie on social media lately? Find out why they’re deliberately committing a make-up faux pas.

Emergency declared as blizzard is expected to dump up to 24 inches of snow.

With 100 days to go until the General Election we decided to give it a try.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder