Oh Rats! Chicago Tops List as Rattiest City for 8th Straight Year

October 19, 2022

In a recent press release, pest-control company Orkin revealed its list of the top 50 “rattiest” U.S. cities for 2022, and for the eighth straight year, Chicago ranked first. The Windy City beat out New York and Los Angeles, which took second and third places, respectively.

Orkin ranked metro regions by the number of new rodent treatments performed by the company from September 1, 2021, to August 31, 2022. This ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

According to Orkin, rat infestation tends to increase seasonally, as the temperature drops. Each fall, rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States. They typically enter between October and February, looking for food, water, and shelter from the cold. Unique to previous years, with the influx of outdoor dining structures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, rodents have found new places to dine, live, and multiply.

“Rodent infestations are among the top pest issues of the fall and winter seasons,” said Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist. “Not only are mice and rats a nuisance, but they are known to spread a variety of dangerous diseases, including Salmonella and Hantavirus.”

Rats can also cause structural damage by gnawing on electrical wires, gas lines, and support beams.

Because of the threats posed by rats and other rodents, it’s important to know how to spot issues and take a proactive approach. Orkin noted the following as common signs of a rodent infestation:

  • Droppings: Rodent droppings are often left behind in places where food is stored, such as kitchen cabinets or pantries, under sinks, inside chewed cardboard boxes, along baseboards, and on top of wall beams.
  • Gnaw marks: Rodents are known to bite through walls, wood, and wires. The damage to wiring within walls can increase the risk for a fire.
  • Nests: Rodents prefer to nest in dark, secluded areas where there is little chance of disturbance. Be on the lookout for shredded paper products, cotton, packing materials, and other fabrics, as rodents like to build nests out of these materials.
  • Rub marks: Rats tend to leave dark grease or dirt marks along walls and floorboards as they follow a trail throughout the home between their nest and food.
  • Strange noises: Scurrying in the walls could mean a rodent family is present.

To help building occupants avoid the potential health and safety risks associated with rodents, Orkin recommends the following tips:

  • Store away 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.
  • Declutter. Cardboard objects prove attractive to rodents, as they tend to chew them up for use in their nests. Keep all areas clean and organize any crowded spaces.
  • Maintain your landscaping. Tall grass with adequate harborages, such as woodpiles next to the building, can be ideal habitats for rodents. Tree branches in contact with buildings can also offer rodents easy access to the upper levels, where they like to hide.
  • Inspect both inside and outside your home. Keep an eye out for rodent droppings, burrows, and rub marks along baseboards and walls. The sooner rodents are detected, the better.
  • Look for possible entry points. Seal any holes and cracks that are found around the building. Install weather strips around entryways, especially under doors, to help keep out rodents.

Be sure to also check out our article regarding a novel method being used to prevent rat infestation: birth control. View Orkin’s complete list of rattiest cities here.

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