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Chicago Tops the List of "Rattiest" Cities


For the third straight year, Chicago tops Orkin’s list of the rattiest cities in the U.S.

You’d think that rats would freeze to death living in many of the cities listed, including the Windy City, Green Bay (number 50), Minneapolis/St. Paul (number 12), Detroit (number 7), and others. Apparently rats are survivors.

If closed, rats couldn’t get in—this way, it’s a welcome mat

Also, as far as I know, “ratty” Chicago is the only city with public officials blaming their problems on dogs, because people aren’t picking up after them. This is indeed fake news. Rats don’t like to eat dog feces, and will usually only dine on it if absolutely nothing else is available. And, with all those thousands of open trash cans and trees that drop tasty berries, there are plenty of other options. In fact, when rat population numbers exceed easily available food, they may choose to eat their own young before even thinking about the not-so-nutritious option of dog feces. In fact, dogs are more likely to eat their own feces.

Orkin doesn’t want to hear this, but the best way to deter rats are trash cans with metal lids outside restaurants and in alleys, so rats can’t pick up easy meals.

Another way to help the rat problem: Programs that spay/neuter community cats, but also keep them where rats are a persistent problem. The cats move in, and the rats move out.

Also, communities need to be educated. For example, since rats like birdseed, people should be encouraged to buy rat-proof bird feeders. Many bird lovers don’t know that they should be doing this.

So, rat numbers can be controlled a whole lot without even using rodenticides. I understand the value in additional control with rodenticides, but am always concerned about unintended consequences, such as pets, wildlife, or even children getting into the poison. If there’s enough poison, it could affect the water table. Also, rats learn fast. They “sniff” what killed a returning comrade and learn not to make the same mistake.

Here are Orkin’s rattiest cities:

The metro regions are ranked by the number of rodent treatments the company performed from September 15, 2016 to September 15, 2017. This ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

  1. Chicago
  2. New York
  3. Los Angeles (+1)
  4. San Francisco – Oakland (+1)
  5. Washington, DC (-2)
  6. Philadelphia (+1)
  7. Detroit (+2)
  8. Baltimore (-2)
  9. Seattle – Tacoma
  10. Dallas – Ft. Worth (+4)
  11. Denver (-1)
  12. Minneapolis – St. Paul (-4)
  13. Cleveland – Akron (+2)
  14. Atlanta (+2)
  15. Boston (-3)
  16. Hartford – New Haven (+1)
  17. Portland, OR (+3)
  18. Miami – Ft. Lauderdale (-5)
  19. Indianapolis
  20. Houston (+1)
  21. Milwaukee (+2)
  22. Pittsburgh (-4)
  23. New Orleans (+15)
  24. Cincinnati (+10)
  25. Richmond – Petersburg
  26. Sacramento – Stockton (+6)
  27. Kansas City (+3)
  28. Charlotte (-1)
  29. Norfolk – Portsmouth – Newport News (-5)
  30. Buffalo (-1)
  31. Columbus, OH (+6)
  32. St. Louis (-4)
  33. Raleigh – Durham (-11)
  34. Grand Rapids – Kalamazoo (-1)
  35. San Diego (+12)
  36. Albany – Schenectady (-10)
  37. San Antonio
  38. Tampa – St. Petersburg (-7)
  39. Rochester, NY (-4)
  40. Nashville (-1)
  41. Champaign – Springfield – Decatur
  42. Greenville – Spartanburg (-2)
  43. Memphis
  44. Phoenix (+1)
  45. Syracuse
  46. West Palm Beach (-10)
  47. Orlando – Daytona Beach (-1)
  48. Madison (+1)
  49. Flint – Saginaw (-8)
  50. Green Bay – Appleton (-6)

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