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 Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Tom Franklin with supporters, including Green Party mayoral candidate Sian Berry, outside court

Eight campaigners cleared of any wrongdoing for their part in an arms fair protest may be dragged back to court after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lodged an appeal.

18:06
Advertising banners on lampposts in Haverstock Hill

Residents in Belsize Park say large estate agents banners which have gone up on lampposts throughout the area are an “ugly” eyesore and should not have been allowed by Camden.

Thames Water have discovered a well under Muswell Hill Broadway

Haringey Council has invited English Heritage to investigate the well’s history

Tulip Siddiq MP and Chris Percy with their newborn daughter Azalea Joy Percy

MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, Tulip Siddiq, has said that mums being prevented from breastfeeding in public is “depressing” after a group of women were banned from breastfeeding at the Swiss Cottage Marriott.

Air pollution public meeting at St Stephens
Simon Birkett, founder of Clean Air London

A citizen science project has confirmed what Camden residents and environmentalists have long suspected - that we are breathing in dangerous levels of toxins right across the borough, even at the leafy heart of Hampstead Heath.

16:50
Abdul Rahim Sowe had sentence increased to life

A teenager who attacked and robbed a good Samaritan in Belsize Park as she provided directions before going on to bottle and stab a stranger in a Camden off-licence has had his sentence increased to life in prison.

15:06
The aftermath of the crash in Highgate Hill

A car was abandoned in Highgate following a crash in the early hours of yesterday.

Sharon Shoesmith is expected to speak out about her dismissal

A former Haringey social services boss is set to appear on a show discussing ‘demonising individuals’ on BBC Radio 4 tonight

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe