Bedok South culls rats and seals breeding places

SOME 54 rats have been caught and killed in an extermination exercise in Bedok South, after residents reported a rise in numbers across blocks 69 to 72.

East Coast Town Council, which gave an update yesterday, said the situation has improved after its pest control efforts, which included setting traps and baiting, last week.

"We have not received any sightings of live rats since last week," a spokesman said, adding that the council will be monitoring the area regularly and stepping up its efforts to inform residents about responsible waste management.

The town council was alerted to the increase in rat numbers by conservancy workers and residents earlier this month.

Bedok South residents said they had seen swarms of as many as 20 rats scampering around the area at night.

They pointed to several causes, such as people feeding stray animals, a nearby garbage collection point and a food disposal area near a coffee shop in Block 69.

Mr Adrian Theseira, managing director of Wipeout Pest Control Services which led the extermination exercise, said pest controllers have started to seal the rat burrows this week to prevent rats from breeding.

About 30 burrows were found in the area.

The company will continue to look out for any sign of rats during the next two weeks.

"We also want to do routine inspections once a month, on top of the regular checks by the town council," he said.

"Previously checks were done on a case-by-case basis, based on feedback."

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said last week that it found 16 burrows at Block 70 and rat droppings in a bin centre and two food outlets, which have since been given warnings.

Its officers have spoken to shopowners and occupiers about proper waste disposal.

The NEA also said it is working with the town council to step up its estate cleaning and maintenance of rubbish chutes.

Madam Peggy Lim, 60, who lives in Block 68, said she has not seen any rats in the area since last week. In the past, she would see at least three to four every night.

"Ultimately, it is (about) cutting off the rats' food sources. People still feed stray cats, which don't know how to look for rats any more," said the manager.

"The coffee shops also need to keep up their cleanliness, otherwise the rats will come back."

Other town councils have also stepped up pest control efforts.

Chua Chu Kang Town Council, for instance, got rid of rat burrows by using bait.

From 904 active rat burrows in the constituency last November and December, the number dropped to around 60 last month.

ateng@sph.com.sg