Chicago Tops Rattiest Cities List

For the third time, Chicago tops Orkin’s annual list of the rattiest cities. Plus, a handy guide to patching rodent holes.

Fall temperatures are on the way and that means the start of rodent season. As the weather gets colder, unwanted pests like rats and mice seek out food, water, and shelter to survive the winter.

In recognition of this annual rodent invasion, Orkin has released its Top 50 Rattiest Cities list and for the third consecutive year, Chicago has taken the top spot. The metro regions are ranked by the number of residential and commercial rodent treatments the company performed from September 15, 2016 through September 15, 2017.

Here are this year’s top 10 rattiest cities:

Chicago rattiest city
Photo: Orkin
  1. Chicago
  2. New York
  3. Los Angeles
  4. San Francisco – Oakland
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Philadelphia
  7. Detroit
  8. Baltimore
  9. Seattle – Tacoma
  10. Dallas – Ft. Worth

How To Prevent A Rodent Invasion

Whether your facility is located in Chicago or anywhere else, taking steps now to prevent a rodent invasion is time well spent.

“Rats and mice begin looking for warmer, more insulated places to get through the winter, and these too often happen to be our homes or businesses,” said John Kane, entomologist and Technical Director of Orkin’s Midwest Region. “Rodents like to chew on wood and electrical wires, increasing the fire danger behind your walls and potentially damage to your home.”

Chicago rattiest cityKane added it’s not hard for rodents to get inside a home or business. “Rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter, while mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime. Even if they can’t find an opening, they can often chew their way in.”

Rodents chew on many materials, including wood and the insulation around wires. It’s estimated approximately 25 percent of unexplained wildfires start from rodent chewing. If rodent issues go unrecognized or ignored, their chewing can damage wires in the attic, basement, or even in vehicles. Rodent burrowing can also cause cracks in a building’s foundation.

“Beyond property damage, there are other important reasons to prevent, notice and eliminate rodent infestations. They can contaminate food and transmit pathogens through urine, feces and bites that affect health.”

To help people avoid the health and safety risks that are possible with these pests, Orkin recommends the following tips to help prevent a rodent invasion:

  • Inspect both inside and outside the building 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 building and seal cracks and holes if any are found. Think, “where would YOU hide or enter if you were a rodent?” It’ll be hidden, dark, probably warm, and difficult to reach!
  • 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 the building to avoid giving rodents a “jumping off” point to access the gutters, roof, or other hidden openings.

For more information about rodent prevention, visit