Chicago has more rats than any other city in America

Pest control experts and CDC say rodent populations are exploding across the country as a consequence of the pandemic.


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Chicago keeps winning the unwanted title of America's rat capital

For the sixth year running, the Windy City has won a title that no city ever wants.

As rodent populations around America explode under pandemic conditions, Chicago once again tops the list as the rattiest place to live in the whole country.

Pest control experts Orkin have released their annual report that ranks American cities based on the number of new rodent treatments from September 1 to August 31 of each year.

Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC and San Francisco round out the top five.

In the Midwest, Minneapolis dropped two spots to number 10, while Cleveland dropped four spots to number 11. Indianapolis checks in at number 15, while Cincinnati clawed its way up to number 22.

The big movers on the list this year include San Diego, which rose 13 spots to number 19, and Knoxville, which jumped 14 spots and checked in at number 45.

Only one other Illinois city made the cut, as Champaign ranks as the 39th rattiest city in the country, according to Orkin.

“Rodents are experts at sniffing out food and shelter, and they’re resilient in their ways to obtain both,” Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist, said in the company’s press release. “Residential properties offer the ideal habitat for rodents, and once they’ve settled in, they’re capable of reproducing rapidly and in large quantities.”

Efforts to tame the city’s rat population have been going on for years. Chicago’s “war on rats” escalated with the introduction of a new rat task force back in 2016. Residents had even begun adopting cats to squash their numbers.

Statewide mandates to stay at home and close businesses haven’t just affected the human population, according to Orkin. The have had a dramatic increase on the population of unwanted furry pests.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes on its website:

“Community-wide closures have led to a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in dense commercial areas,” according to the website. “Some jurisdictions have reported an increase in rodent activity as rodents search for new sources of food.”

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