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Chicago named ‘rattiest city’ in the U.S. six years in a row

Rats! This is one superlative we could do without.

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen

Just weeks after being named the Best Big City in the World for the fourth consecutive year by Condé Nast Traveler, Chicago has nabbed another title—though you probably won't hear anyone bragging about it. Pest-control experts Orkin say that our city is the "rattiest" in the country for the sixth year in a row.

Orkin ranks its annual list using the number of new rodent treatments—both residential and commercial—performed between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020. Chicago tops the list once again, followed closely by Los Angeles and New York in second and third place, respectively.

Interestingly enough, Orkin reports that the overall visibility of rats has increased this year, as "the pandemic-driven closure of restaurants forced rodents to find new food sources," according to its experts. Even scarier? Without food waste to consume in the back alley of your favorite neighborhood restaurant, Orkin reports that rats are scavenging new areas and "exhibiting unusual or aggressive behavior." It's gotten so bad, in fact, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released official rodent control guidance with tips on keeping rats out of businesses and homes.

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

To avoid a pricey pest-control bill this winter, Orkin recommends not leaving out food (especially small crumbs and garbage); keeping a clean, uncluttered house; maintaining tidy landscaping outside; looking out for rodent droppings; and sealing off possible entry points like cracks and holes.

Take a look at the top 10 Rattiest Cities in the country below and start deep cleaning your apartment.

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

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