Bedok North coffee shop plagued with rodent problems

Bedok North coffee shop plagued with rodent problems
PHOTO: Lianhe Wanbao

SINGAPORE - A rat and cockroach infestation has badly affected business at a Bedok North coffee shop, causing a 20 per cent drop in profits, Lianhe Wanbao reported.

A lawn in front of the eatery has been traced to be the source of the rat and cockroach infestation. Rats were spotted running into the coffee shop, causing alarm among the diners.

The rodent infestation was first highlighted to the Chinese evening daily when a 40-second video was posted on citizen journalism site Stomp, showing more than 16 cockroaches and rats scurrying around the coffee shop located at Block 217 Bedok North Street 1.

The eatery's manager Ms Zhuo Huiling, 49, said the coffee shop has been plagued by the problem for the past two years, with the situation worsening during the rainy season.

To the customers, the sight of cockroaches means that the rain is approaching, Ms Zhuo said. When it rains, over 50 cockroaches will run into the coffee shop to "seek shelter".

Rat sightings are more common at night, and they have even managed to run up the tenants' stoves, and scare customers, Ms Zhuo said.

The coffee shop staff feel helpless about the situation and have to resort to keeping their ingredients in buckets to prevent the rats from "stealing" them.

Diners told Wanbao that the vermin problem does not lie with the coffee shop, but the open space and nearby bushes which have become a breeding ground for the cockroaches and rats.

A coffee shop patron, Ms Huang Meiting, 21, said she doesn't dare to sit at a table near the grass due to the mice.

HDB blocks affected too

The rodent issue is not only limited to the coffee shop. Residents also said rats were spotted at another cafe in the neighborhood.

According to Wanbao, the void decks at the nearby housing blocks were also littered with rat droppings. A large rat leading four juveniles were spotted at a drain near one of the housing estate void decks.

Residents shared that some residents were feeding the stray cats with leftover food, but the food was taken over by the rats.

According to Wanbao, at least 10 mice were spotted looking for food in a span of 10 minutes.

Pest control company called in

Ms Zhuo said a pest control company has been called in twice in two months to catch the rodents at the coffee shop.

While the stall owners have been cleaning their premises more frequently, more needs to be done by the Town Council, Ms Zhuo said, as the source of the rodent infestation falls under their purview.

The stall owners have also bought at least 10 bottles of pesticides to deal with the cockroaches, she shared.

Over 10 mouse glue traps were used to catch about 30 rats in the past seven months, with an average of four caught per night.

Recently, Ms Zhuo said, it has been more difficult to catch them as the mouse is "very smart" and will avoid open mousetraps.

Town Council will clean drains

The National Environment Agency (NEA), East Coast Town Council, pest control companies and cleaning contractors were also present Wednesday afternoon to study the situation.

Numerous cockroaches were spotted in a drain that emitted a foul stench. Water samples were extracted by a pest control company personnel to test for cockroach larvae.

The town council staff said they will help clean the drains outside the coffee shop, and will continue to follow up on the situation.

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