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Chicago tops list of most rat-infested cities for 9th consecutive year

Chicago, Los Angeles and New York rounded out the list's top 3 "Rattiest Cities"

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Chicago just earned a No. 1 spot on a new list -- but this ranking is a bit less desirable than the others.

For the 9th consecutive year, Chicago topped the list of Orkin's annual "Top 50 Rattiest Cities List," a press release from the Pest Control company said.

According to the study, cities were ranked based on the number of new rodent treatments performed from Sept. 1, 2022 to Aug. 31, 2023, Orkin said., with both residential and commercial treatments included.

Los Angeles came in at No. 2 on the list, and New York ranked at No. 3, the release said. Below are the list of cities that made the top 10 on Orkin's list of 50:

  1. Chicago
  2. Los Angeles
  3. New York
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. San Francisco
  6. Philadelphia
  7. Baltimore
  8. Denver
  9. Detroit
  10. Cleveland-Akron

The list, released Monday, comes at a time when Orkin says millions of mice and rats begin to invade homes looking for food, water and shelter ahead of the cold. An estimated 21 million mice, rats and other rodents typically enter homes between October and February, the release said.

“Rodents multiply swiftly and when an infestation is left unattended, they can cause extensive damage to homes and yards,” said Orkin entomologist Ben Hottel, said in the release. “Rats are capable of squeezing into spaces through holes as small as a quarter, which makes it especially important to seal cracks from the outside.”  

Documents form the city of Chicago show that Mayor Brandon Johnson's 2024 budget includes $14.8 million allocated to the "Bureau of Rodent Control," which "baits and eliminates rodents, educates residents on how to reduce the risk of rodents on their property, and removes dead animals."

According to city documents, Chicago's 2024 rat abatement budget is approximately $1.5 million more than it was in 2023.

Signs you might have a rat in your home

Common infestation signs to watch for include droppings, gnaw marks on walls, wood and wires, nests in dark, secluded areas, grease marks along floorboards, or scurrying sounds in the walls or attic, Orkin said.

Here are Orkin's recommendations for preventing rates and mice in the home:

  • Keep food stored away in metal or glass containers
  • Clear clutter like cardboard objects through which rodents could chew and nest
  • Keep landscaping tamed as tall grass and woodpiles are ideal spots for rodents to dwell
  • Watch for rodent droppings, burrow and rub marks along baseboards and walls
  • Look for possible points of entry and seal off any cracks or holes

You can see the full list of Orkin's "Top 50 Rattiest Cities" here.

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