If the city's "Rat Treatment" signs hadn't tipped you off, a recent report has confirmed what most Chicagoans already suspected: Chicago is the most rat-infested city in the United States.
Orkin, a pest control company, released its 2016 ranking of "rattiest cities" in the United States with Chicago once again topping the list. The Second City last claimed first place in 2014.
Orkin based its assessment on the number of rodent treatments the company performed in various cities from Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016, including both residential and commercial treatments.
New York claimed second place this year, followed by Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.
“Just like we put on a warm coat and turn up the heat indoors, rodents look for a warm place to nest,” John Kane, entomologist and Technical Director of Orkin’s Midwest Region, said in a statement. “Fall evenings as mild as those in the mid-50’s can send rodents indoors to search for warmth, where they can cause hundreds of dollars in damages to homes and businesses."
Rodents damage property, spread food contamination and pose a signifant 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.
- 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.
- Clean up crumbs and spills as soon as they happen to avoid leaving food residue or sugary substances that can attract rodents.
- 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.