Keeping communal bin areas tidy is important; rats do love to rummage through bags – especially if they contain food waste. On this particular site in Reading, the wheelie bins were left with lids open (rats ran along the wall and jumped onto the bins) and there were several food packages scattered over the ground.
Sometimes, someone sees a rat in the area and becomes too uncomfortable to open the bin lids – they’re then far more likely to drop rubbish on the floor and exit the area quickly. The problem quickly become a vicious circle: more sightings, less chance of rubbish being placed in the bins leading to more rats. Before long, it’s unmanageable – and a significant health hazard.
Unfortunately, these kinds of bins usually have a drainage hole in the bottom to allow fluids to drain away – but they also allow rats to climb into the bins and help themselves to the contents. Fixing this site in the long term is therefore a combination of education (to keep waste off the floor) and ‘proofing’ (stopping rats from getting into the bins) in addition to getting rid of the population that’s built up in the meantime.