All arrows target rats, but what other animal epidemics await Amsterdam?

As a resident, you can no longer ignore this: the many rats that have made Amsterdam their home. GGD is doing everything they can to control the rat population, the biggest epidemic in the city. But no matter how small it is, there are many insects that crawl, fly and crawl through the city. Besides bed bugs, pigeons and spiders, we can expect other animal pests in the future.

Big mice running right in front of you: anyone who lives in the city has probably experienced it. This is not surprising, because the number of mice reports has doubled in two years. According to the GGD, which is tasked with keeping the rat population under control, it is a result of the corona crisis. People who spend more time at home generate more waste.

Since April there has been a stabilization in the number of reports on household waste. Good news you might think, but according to Dave de Jonge, animal pest control team leader at GGD Amsterdam, there are no fewer pests. “The rat reports have not collapsed and we fear they will not go down again.”


Preventing rat annoyance is the top priority in GGD. This is understandable if you look at the number of reports in the past 13 months: more than 7,000 reports of mice. The second place came in the “Dead Animals” category with 372 reports, followed by wasps (295), pigeons (223), gulls (150) and geese (26). More than 1,300 reports related to the category “Other Animals”.

Richillo Goman of Animal Pest First Aid, one of the city’s many pest control agencies, along with mice, also receives a lot of calls from residents who have mice in their homes. “At the moment, but this is seasonal, people suffer from wasps. And we must definitely not forget spiders. In the past few years we have received a lot of messages about spiders. However, they cannot be combated, you can just use them, stay out.”

Bed bugs are a known problem in the city

GGD does not fight pests from animals such as spiders, bed bugs, pigeons and cockroaches. “It can be counted on one hand where we’re still doing it,” De Jong said. “We prioritize what is really dangerous. Mice have the highest public health risk factor. They can get sick from their faeces.”

“Green facades are a ladder for insects to enter our world”

Dave de Jong – Amsterdam Public Health Service

The fact that there is a municipality in Spain that gives pigeons a kind of pill against the plague is not a desirable example of de Jong. “It’s a sign of weakness. Giving pigeons a pill meant you weren’t able to get it right. That kind of pill, but also poison and traps, should be a last resort.” From 2023, poison control for individuals will be banned and fighters may only use the agent if all other options fail to produce results.

In the near future, GGD will focus on some sort of rat acceptance into the city. De Jong: “That’s part of it. We also have a coalition agreement in which the word ‘green’ often appears. Nature, for example, should approach green facades. In our world this is a ladder that the animals enter. We have to talk about it: how to prepare in a way Make as much sense as possible so the Rat can’t get in.”

pests of the future

Although mice have been the biggest pests for years, it used to be cockroaches that occupied the pests. “There were a lot of cockroaches in the beaglarflats,” Goman recalls. “This has really gone down recently because the houses are built better. If you touch a cockroach, you can easily take it into your house. But, even then, the rat was already a huge pestilence.”

That may change in the future, because according to GGD’s De Jonge, things may come upon us as a result of climate change. “Think of certain types of mosquitoes that usually only occur in southern Europe. You can guess, but you hear noises about mosquitoes that might bring something with them. But I don’t expect we’ll team up right away with these.”

Besides mosquitoes, the city’s climate is becoming increasingly susceptible to the arrival of an even larger exotic species: the raccoon. They previously appeared in Gelderland and North Brabant. It is not yet certain what effect it could have on nature, but it has been known that it can molest buildings, parks, and litter boxes.

“But right now, there are rats and more mice,” concludes de Jong.

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