Pest control


Controlling pests on your property

There are many different types of pests which you may find in your property. These could include rats, mice, birds and insects.

Please note that Cornwall Council does not provide a pest control service.

You can control the insects yourself if you follow the advice on the following websites:

The British Pest Control Association provides information on nuisance insects in their A-Z of pests.  This includes ways of identifying the type of insect and advice on how to control them.

Find a pest controllerWe may be able to help if a rat, mouse or insect problem on another person’s property is affecting you.

Rats and mice

Cornwall Council must keep the land and buildings that we own and manage free from rats and mice.

Residents and businesses are responsible for keeping their own land and buildings free from rats and mice.

Preventing rats and mice on your property

Rats and mice need shelter and a food and water source. Reducing their availability may help prevent them from inhabiting your home and garden.

Household waste

  • If you store household and food waste outside, it must be in a pest proof container such as metal/plastic bin with a secure lid.
  • You should put out your general household waste for collection by the Council every week. This should only be on the morning of collection.
  • Do not leave items such as old sofas and mattresses in your garden. This could provide shelter for rodents.
  • You can take most household waste to the Waste and Recycling Centres for free.  You can also get bulky items collected for a small charge.

Bird (and wild animal) feeding

  • Avoid feeding the birds. Bird tables and bird baths provide an accessible food and water source for rats and mice. 
  • Any pet or bird food stored outside or in outhouses must be in secure, lidded pest proof containers.
  • Do not feed your pets or any wild birds or animals by placing and leaving food on the ground

Property and garden maintenance

  • Trim back overgrown green areas such as garden lawns, shrubbery and hedges.
  • Compost heaps are a favourite nesting place for rats and mice. Consider using the Council’s garden waste collection instead.
  • Regularly inspect garden areas. Look under sheds and decking, for signs of activity, such as burrows, rat runs and droppings.
  • Seal possible entry points to the house. Rats and mice can enter your home in many ways, even the smallest of cracks and holes and gaps between walls.
  • Check your drains for signs of damage or collapse. These could provide hidden routes into your garden or home.

Can I complain to the Council about rats or mice?

If you have rats and mice on your own property you should contact a local pest controller or deal with the matter yourself.  You should treat the infestation and pest-proof your property.

Find a pest controller

If your neighbour is not dealing with their own rat or mouse problem you can report it at the contact details at the bottom of this page. Before making a complaint, please consider the following:

  • Do not report single sightings of rats or mice. They are a natural part of the environment and common across the country.
  • We will only deal with complaints of infestations - where rats or mice are nesting on premises.
  • If neighbouring land is overgrown, it does not always mean that it is harbouring rats or mice.
  • Rodents also live in tidy gardens. They like warm and dry environments, such as under sheds and decking, or in compost heaps
  • Check your own property first. You may be unaware that rats or mice are nesting in your garden or home, such as in loft spaces or under floors.
  • Look for nests, rat runs and holes in hedges/fences between properties.
  • Consider speaking with your neighbours before reporting a problem. They may already be doing pest control or know where the problem is.
  • If your neighbour is a tenant, you can report it to their landlord or housing officer.
  • Neighbours should try and work together to sort out a rat or mouse problem. There should be no need to involve the Council.

Information you should provide in your complaint

We ask that you provide as much detail as possible when reporting rat or mouse infestations:

  • When did the problem begin?
  • Where have you seen rats or mice?
  • What type of rodent? (Rat or mouse – please describe)
  • How many times have you seen them since?
  • How many did you see at each sighting?
  • Have you checked your own garden and property for nests?
  • Have you spoken with your neighbours?
  • Are you or your neighbours undertaking your own pest control?
  • Have you or your neighbours hired a contractor?
  • Why do you think there is problem on the land that you are reporting?
  • Has there been a previous problem? What was the outcome?

How we deal with your complaint about rats or mice

If we need further information, we will aim to contact you within 3 working days. This could be longer during busy periods.

We will usually first send an advisory letter to the property which you believe to be the source of the problem.

If the problem persists then we may visit to gather further information.

If we find a problem then we will request the owner/occupier to take action. We may need to serve a notice if they are not willing or able to address the problem.

In rare circumstances we may hire a contractor to do the required pest control. We will recharge all costs to the owner/occupier. This will be more expensive than if a person does their own pest control or hires their own contractor.

Nuisance insects

Cornwall Council does not provide a pest control service. We are unable to help you with complaints about insects arising within your own property. Please refer to the advice above.

Where the source of the insect nuisance is from certain commercial premises, we may be able to help you. For example, flies from poultry houses, landfill sites, and sewage treatment works.

Please see our Statutory nuisance webpage. This contains advice on how to make a complaint of insect nuisance and how we handle your complaint.

Nuisance birds

Please see our Wild birds and seagulls webpage for further information and advice on bird-feeding and control methods.

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