Autumn is many people's favorite season, but fall isn't just all about picturesque pumpkin patches, apple cider and cozy sweaters — it's also a time for rat infestations. With the change in temperature comes an increase in vermin invasions, according to Orkin. The pest control company recently released a report detailing in which cities they do the most rodent treatments.
The report lists the “top 50 rattiest cities,” based on how many commercial and residential rodent treatments Orkin performed between Sept. 15, 2016 and Sept. 15, 2017.
Though many think of New York City when they first think of rats, it actually came in second on the list behind Chicago — which has topped the Orkin ranking for the last three years, according to the company.
Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington followed behind New York City in that order, with Philadelphia landing in the sixth spot, up one spot from last year’s list. And though Boston has a neighborhood many call “Allston Rat City,” the Hub didn’t make the top 10, coming in at number 15 out of 50 cities.
Orkin entomologist Chelle Hartzer said in a video that though rats can be in every state, they tend to be more prevalent in bigger cities, because they have more people and “more people means more food source, and therefore more rodents.”
“We also see them a little bit more in port cities,” she added. “Ports have a lot of goods coming and going and have a lot of habitat for rodents to hide out at. But wherever you are, you have the potential to have some rodent issues.”
Each year, more than 20 million rodents invade homes across the country, according to the National Pest Management Association. Rats are particularly good at sneaking inside your home, experts say, because they can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter or even chew their way inside.
To prevent rats from coming inside your home or business, Hartzer suggests making sure all food sources are cleaned up (even things like open pet and bird food can attract rodents), check your door and window seals for any openings to seal, especially now that the weather is changing, and if you do see any evidence of rodents, call a professional.
“Rodents can be active year round but we’re going to see more activity in the fall and the winter months when those temps start dropping on the outside,” Hartzer said. “Those rodents are going to look for something a little bit warmer, or an extra food source they may not have outside anymore because of those cooler temperatures.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at the end of September that he would dedicate $750,000 to tackle rat “hot spots” on the Upper West Side, an effort to reduce rat activity in playgrounds, parks and schools. Some steps toward that goal include implementing new waste containers, increasing baiting efforts, adding more pest-control staff and ramping up enforcement of rat-related violations, like when residents and vendors litter or feed pigeons, which helps grow the rat population. This is on top of a $32 million plan to reduce the city’s rat population that was announced in July.
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