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Rats! Denver makes the list of cities with biggest rat problems

Pest control company Orkin based its findings on how many rodent removal jobs were performed between September 2021 to August 2022.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 file photo, a rat leaves its burrow at a park in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York. New York City has announced Wednesday, July 12, 2017, a $32 million, multi-agency plan to reduce the rat population. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

ATLANTA — Ever wonder which city might be the most rat-infested city in America?

No, it's not New York City. 

For the 8th year in a row, Chicago again takes the top spot for the most "rattiest" city in America. Every year, pest control company Orkin releases a list of the top 50 rat-infested cities based on the number of rodent removal jobs performed. It includes removals performed in both residential and commercial buildings.

This year's rankings were based on data taken from Sept. 1, 2021 to Aug. 31, 2022. Here are the top 10 cities on the list:

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

In most years, most cities only move up or down incrementally a few spots. However, the biggest movers this year include South Bend, Indiana (up 21 spots), Ft. Wayne, Indiana (up 12 spots), and Burlington, New Jersey (down 11 spots).

When it comes to the top 10, New York City jumped up to the #2 spot while Cleveland managed to jump up to the #8 spot. 

According to Orkin, mice and other rodents manage to invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States each fall. Most typically enter buildings between the months of October through February looking for food, water and shelter from the cold outside temperatures.

A few of the common signs of a rodent infestation can include: 

  • 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: Mice are known to bite through walls, wood and wires. The damage to wiring within walls can increase the risk for a house 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 house mice 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 or in the attic could mean a rodent family is present. Rodents are especially fond of attics as it’s an insulated area for nest building.

Homeowners can help prevent infestations by taking a proactive approach to eliminating entryways into their homes in the following ways:

  • 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. Take advantage of your extra time at home to clean and organize crowded spaces around the house.

  • Maintain your landscaping. Tall grass with adequate harborages, such as woodpiles next to the house, can be ideal habitats for rodents. Tree branches in contact with homes can also offer rodents easy access to the upper levels of your home where they may find a way into the attic.

  • 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 your home. Install weather strips around entryways, especially under doors, to help keep mice out of your home.

For a full list of the most rat-infested cities in America, you can go to Orkin's website

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