ATLANTA—Rats have taken to the streets of Chicago, yet again. Orkin released its Top 50 Rattiest Cities List, and for the sixth consecutive time, the Windy City takes the top spot. New to the Top 10 this year is Baltimore, taking the eighth spot, and moving into the Top 20 is San Diego, rising 13 spots to secure the #19 ranking.
Orkin ranked metro regions by the number of new rodent treatments performed from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2020. This ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.
|1. Chicago||26. Raleigh, N.C. (-2)|
|2. Los Angeles||27. Hartford, Conn. (-2)|
|3. New York||28. Columbus, Oh (-7)|
|4. Washington, D.C.||29. Grand Rapids|
|5. San Francisco||30. Kansas City (+8)|
|6. Detroit||31. Charlotte, N.C. (-3)|
|7. Philadelphia (+3)||32. Phoenix (5)|
|8. Baltimore (+4)||33. Richmond, Va. (-3)|
|9. Denver||34. Nashville|
|10. Minneapolis (-2)||35. Greenville, S.C. (-2)|
|11. Cleveland, Oh. (-4)||36. Sacramento (+5)|
|12. Seattle (+1)||37. St. Louis (-6)|
|13. Boston (+1)||38. Albany, New York (+10)|
|14. Atlanta (-3)||39. Champaign, Ill. (-3)|
|15. Indianapolis (+1)||40. Green Bay (+18)|
|16. Dallas-Fort Worth (-1)||41. Tampa (-1)|
|17. Houston||42. Flint, Mich. (+3)|
|18. Pittsburgh||43. Buffalo, New York (-8)|
|19. San Diego (+13)||44. Syracuse (-5)|
|20. Miami (-1)||45. Knoxville (+14)|
|21. New Orleans (+6)||46. Orlando (-3)|
|22. Cincinnati (+1)||47. Burlington, Va. (+2)|
|23. Portland, Or. (-1)||48. Albuquerque (+19)|
|24. Milwaukee (-4)||49. Dayton (-2)|
|25. Norfolk, Va. (+1)||50. West Palm Beach (+3)|
In an unprecedented year, the visibility of rodents has increased, creating concern for homeowners and business owners alike. As reported in the Spring, the pandemic-driven closure of restaurants forced rodents to find new food sources. Without food waste to consume, these pests were seen scavenging new areas and exhibiting unusual or aggressive behavior. The presence of rodents became so relevant that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Rodent Control guidance on ways to keep rats and mice out of homes and businesses.
As we approach colder months, rodent activity will only continue increasing as these pests seek shelter in warm areas with available food and water.
“Rodents are experts at sniffing out food and shelter, and they’re resilient in their ways to obtain both,” said Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist.
Rodents are known to cause severe structural damage with their strong jaws and burrowing skills. They have oversized front teeth for gnawing, and they have check teeth, which are adapted for chewing a variety of items, including electrical wires, water pipes and gas lines.
Beyond structural damage, there are multiple health issues associated with rodents, and during a time of heightened awareness around virus transmission, preventing rodents and the harmful pathogens they carry is critical. Rodents are capable of contaminating food through pathogens that can cause food poisoning or Leptospirosis. They can also spread diseases such as Hantavirus and Plague, specifically in the Western United States, both of which while uncommon, can be fatal.
Rat Infestation is Preventable
The good news is, a rat infestation is preventable. To help residents avoid the potential health and safety risks associated with rodents, Orkin recommends the following tips to help prevent rats and mice:
- Do not leave out food. Small crumbs and garbage are popular food sources, as are dry goods such as grains and cereals. These should be kept in sealed metal or glass containers to prevent contamination.
- Avoid cluttered spaces. Cardboard objects prove attractive to rodents, as they tend to chew them up for use in their nests. Take advantage of your extra time to clean and organize crowded spaces.
- Do not let the landscaping run wild. Tall grass with adequate harborages, such as woodpiles, can be ideal habitats for rodents. Tree branches in contact with buildings can also offer rodents easy access to the upper levels of a structure where they may find a way inside.
- Inspect both inside and outside your property for rodent droppings, burrows and rub marks along baseboards and walls. The more quickly rodents are detected, the better.
- Look for possible entry points and seal cracks and holes if any are found. Install weather strips around entryways, especially under doors, to help block rodents from sneaking inside.
Using the tips above, the nation can be better equipped to keep rodents out. To effectively control rodent introductions, contact a trained pest professional who can assess your situation, implement a sound solution that is designed just for your building and monitor for improvements over time.