A PEST control expert has suggested people in the worst-affected areas of the city may need to be moved out of their homes en masse to rid properties of creepy crawlies.

Dr Heather Lynch, a researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) has said the people of Glasgow need to take a more open approach to dealing with bug and vermin issues, as the worst streets in the city were revealed.

Figures show more than 12,000 visits have been made to homes by council pest controllers since the beginning of last year.

Of these, nearly 700 call-outs were related to bugs, with the largest group of these relating to bed bugs, while a further 11,500 calls regarding vermin were recorded.

The streets with the most visits by pest control were Allison Street and Calder Street, but Dr Lynch believes the issue is not necessarily linked to poverty in the area.


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Having carried out a neighbourhood study of Govanhill, studying people’s relationship with pests and rubbish, looking into how they are managed across the world, Dr Lynch believes drastic action may be needed to eradicate the beasties.

The lecturer said: “Bed bugs are an endemic problem in Govanhill and some urban areas. From work across the world there are clear reasons we have them. This is not just a Govanhill problem, people across every continent have them in their homes.

“It has manifested in Govanhill due to the numbers travelling through, more likely to carry them. They can survive for up to three years without feeding. Anywhere with human traffic you will find them.

Glasgow Times:

“It is not necessarily an issue of poverty, but this comes into play where people don’t have the finances to deal with them. Once they become endemic becomes a flat-by-flat basis.

“One person I spoke to had had her house treated, but then three months later the neighbours house was visited. Rather than getting rid of them completely, the pest control people ended up pushing them into a house they had already treated.


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“Research I have read shows the only way of clearing them is to move people out of a whole block and treat the building, but in Glasgow that is unlikely to happen.”

According to Dr Lynch Glasgow led on the eradication of bed bugs in the 1900s, but the problem returned to the city in the early 2000s.


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This is reportedly partly down to resistance to pesticides used to treat them, making them harder to remove.

Dr Lynch added: “They were thought to be eradicated. What is happening is not dissimilar to antibiotic resistance.

“We either try to develop different chemicals or we find other ways of managing the problem. They can’t survive extreme temperatures so people are having to wash their clothes at 60 degrees. But this essentially destroys your clothes. You will find people in Govanhill using steamers.

“Some people have even said they have had health issues after spraying - there is an anxiety around your house being sprayed.

Glasgow Times:

“It is very unhelpful that there have been media capitalising on the area, calling it Victorian. We need to think different about how we deal with this.”

According to Dr Lynch, the spread of the problem shows the difficulties facing those plagued by rats and mice.

She added: “There is also an issue with mice and rats developing a resistance to the chemicals we use. Both have even become stronger after feasting on fast food.


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“Pest controllers even joke that rats have different tastes in different areas. In the West End they like peanut butter, for instance.

“It is definitely linked to the availability of food. These lifestyle and eating habits are leading to bigger and fatter rats. It is a problem across the city. Any control worker will tell you, even in affluent areas, they will get call outs.


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“It is not an issue of the poor. Some home remedies are a big issue and are haphazard. Pest control workers need to take a more integrated approach.

“I imagine changing the bins would help, but it won’t take away from the fact the rats are living there. They could just migrate and move into people’s homes.

“If the council think they have a magical solution they don’t. There is always an issue with shame and stigma. Maybe if we could talk about it more freely. It is utterly futile dealing with just one flat - creatures do not recognise boundaries.”