Chicago is once again the "rattiest" city in the country.
For the fifth consecutive year, Chicago ranked first on Orkin's list of the most rat-infested cities in the United States.
The pest control company, which bases its assessment on the number of residential and commercial rodent treatments the company performed during the past year.
"Unfortunately, residential properties offer the ideal habitat for rodents because of access to food and water sources, potential entry points and hiding places," Orkin entomologist Chelle Hartzer said in a statement. "A rat can squeeze through an opening as small as a quarter, while a mouse can wedge its way into a hole smaller than a dime."
Los Angeles claimed second place this year, followed by New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco.
Rodents damage property, spread food contamination and pose a significant health threat with potential to cause serious illnesses, according to Orkin.
To help residents avoid the health and safety risks associated with the pests, here are some tips from the company:
- Inspect both inside and outside the home for rodent droppings, burrows and rub marks along baseboards and walls. The more quickly rodents are detected, the better.
- Look for possible entry points outside the home and seal cracks and holes if any are found. Install weather strips around entryways, especially under doors, to help block rodents from sneaking inside.
- Clean up crumbs and spills as soon as they happen to avoid leaving food residue or sugary substances that can attract rodents. Store food properly by keeping it sealed tightly in rodent-proof containers like plastic bins or metal canisters. Otherwise, rodents may smell food and break into weaker containers.
- Cut back trees and bushes to at least three feet away from homes to avoid giving rodents a "jumping off" point to access the gutters, roof or other hidden openings.