Leeds-based pest control firm Key West Pest Control Northern has issued concerns surrounding stockpiling and the impact it could have on the presence of pests in the home.

The concern comes as UK shoppers continue to purchase unnecessary amounts of food in fear that the escalating COVID-19 pandemic will result in a complete lockdown.

The firm is worried that shoppers are purchasing far more food than they can physically store thus increasing their risk of attracting pests.

Sean Mclean, CEO at Key West Pest Control Northern said: “Amidst the current pandemic, many people are acting out of fear and purchasing unusual amounts of food, without consideration of how and where they will store it.

“Storing cereals, breads and other everyday essentials in outdoor sheds or warm pantries may seem like a great use of space, but these dark areas are a first-choice place of residence for pests; even more so when food is added to the equation.

“If you look at restaurants and the way they store their stocks of ingredients, everything is stored according to hygiene and food standards and recommendations. Yes, they may have a dozen loaves of bread, but you’ll usually find these sealed and stored way above the ground.”

Since other countries across the world began putting strict isolation measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, stockpiling has become a massive trend in the UK.

Whilst some suggest it’s just toilet roll, pasta and cleaning products that are the favoured items to stockpile, images have emerged on social media of empty shelves where cereals, biscuits, crisps, and sweets were once kept, suggesting these ‘pest attracting’ items have become the nation’s new stock favourites.

Sean states that these are all foods which are known to attract pests:

“The thing that worries me the most, is that pests such as mice have a superb sense of smell and are attracted to aromatic foods - foods that include fats, sugar, or protein – and if these are being stored in large quantities, as half-open packets, or left in places that mice might like to hibernate then we have a problem.

“People need to realise that not only is this behaviour making it more difficult for the vulnerable people in the community to purchase essential items, but it’s also putting them in danger of having a pest problem.

“The last thing people need during this time of crisis is a pest problem, but if buying behaviours don’t change, we could be heading that way.”

Sean has already prepared his team for an increase in pest control calls, providing PPE and setting up a free helpline for concerned members of the community.