herald

Friday 18 August 2017

€33k spent fighting rats, wasps and moths at Farmleigh House

Farmleigh House called in pest control firms on 27 occasions
Farmleigh House called in pest control firms on 27 occasions

Nearly €35,000 has been spent on pest control services at Farmleigh House during the past five years to combat infestations of rats, wasps, ants and carpet moths.

The state-owned guesthouse, in which Queen Elizabeth has stayed, was affected by recurring problems with rodents and creepy-crawlies during the five years, requiring the services of pest control specialists on 27 occasions.

During one inspection in 2015, rats were seen eating through alarm wires at the Georgian mansion.

A rat was also spotted in the boathouse cafe at Farmleigh in the same year.

Refurbishing

Evidence of rodent activity was detected on 18 of the 27 inspections carried out by the pest control firm, according to records released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Farmleigh was bought by the Government for €29m in 1999 for use as an official guesthouse. A further €23m was spent refurbishing it.

It contains six reception rooms, 14 bathrooms, a ballroom and a library.

A theatre, gallery, cafe and boathouse are also located on the surrounding 78-acre estate in Castleknock.

Last year, the pest control company was called to deal with a problem involving carpet moths in an office area, which required a fumigation treatment to be carried out in a number of rooms.

Carpet moth is a common name for a type of fungus moth, the larva of which feeds on carpets, clothes, upholstery and other fibres.

In July 2015, a spray treatment against garden ants was carried out by a service specialist in three duct areas and in a number of meeting rooms, according to inspection reports.

During the same visit, rats were seen eating through alarm wires in the ducts.

Bait points were set up in these areas, but during a follow-up visit the following month, evidence of rat activity was again noted in external areas and in the ducts.

Rats were sighted in other areas on a number of occasions during the period. A hole under a kitchen counter in the boathouse was identified as the point of entry, while food debris under the counters was found to be attracting the rodents.

Three live rats were spotted by staff members in March 2015 in the vicinity of a shed on the estate.

It was noted that waste containers in the area were in need of attention.

"Please rectify to reduce pest attraction and remove a potential pest breeding site. Sealed bins are needed for food waste," a service specialist stated on his report.

Nests

Spray treatments to eliminate wasps following the discovery of nests were also carried out at a number of locations.

A total of €33,180 was spent on pest control at Farmleigh between 2012 and 2017 by the Office of Public Works (OPW), which is responsible for the maintenance and management of the building.

A spokesperson for the OPW said it did not wan to comment on the matter.

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