In the rat race for ‘most rodent-infested city’ Chicago has taken the top spot for its ninth year in a row beating Los Angeles and New York.
Pest control company Orkin looked at the number of rodent treatments performed on both residential and commercial buildings in the past 12 months and declared the city in Illinois as the most rodent-infested city for 2023.
Los Angeles came in second and most surprisingly New York City trailed closely behind at third.
Meanwhile, Washington DC and San Francisco, remained in their same positions as last year in the top five.
Orkin entomologist Ben Hottel said: ‘Rodents multiply swiftly and when an infestation is left unattended, they can cause extensive damage to homes and yards.’
‘They are capable of squeezing into spaces through holes as small as a quarter, which makes it especially important to seal cracks from the outside,’ he added.
Orkin looked at the number of rodent treatments performed on both residential and commercial buildings in the past 12 months and declared Chicago as the most rodent-infested city for 2023 Monday
Chicago, pictured, continues its first-place run, topping Orkin’s most rodent-infested city list for the ninth year in a row
Los Angeles, pictured, switched positions with New York, reclaiming the second spot
New York, pictured, seems to improve in its battle against rodents as the city dropped from the second to the third spot in the list.
Chicago has been the rattiest city in the country for eight years, despite the city’s efforts to tame the rat population for nearly a decade.
Residents in Chicago made more than 50,000 rat complaints in 2022. The number is a slight decline from the prior year when more than 65,000 complaints were made, according to the city’s 311 call data.
But the number is significantly higher than the rat complaints made before the pandemic.
Chicago’s Bureau of Rodent Control said it ‘investigates every reported rat sighting. Alley conditions are investigated and damaged carts are replaced. Rodenticide is placed in rat burrows to eradicate the nest.’
The bureau said it reacted to rat infestation ‘by mounting a systematic attack on the rat problems thanks to a very aggressive rodent control program.’
Washington D.C., pictured, is ranked the fourth in the ‘Top 50 Rattiest Cities’ list by pest control company Orkin
Trailing Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. in the rat race is San Francisco, pictured, the same top five as last year
Chicago is ill-prepared to handle the skyrocketing complaints, with the city bureau being short-staffed and often responding late, according to an investigation by Illinois Answers and Block Club.
The investigation found that the bureau failed to meet its goals to handle each rat complaint within five days for the last two years.
‘Rat responses were slowest in some West and South side neighborhoods,’ according to the report.
The Office of Inspector General said it would audit the bureau for failing to hand the surge in complaints and exterminate rodents effectively.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson planned to allocate $14,85million to the bureau of rodent control in 2024, a boost of $1.5million from the last year.
The additional funding will bring three new vehicles and six additional staff members, according to a spokesperson for Streets and Sanitation .
The rat population in Los Angeles has surged in recent years due to increased homelessness and the lack of effective rodent control methods.
A California new state law passed last week banning a first-generation rat poison that was harmful to wildlife.
Los Angeles County approved the motion earlier this year asking the state of California to ban first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides.
New York seems to improve in its battle against rodents as it dropped from second to third on the list.
Earlier this year, Mayor Eric Adams hired a rat-catcher for $155,000-a-year to deal with the critical rat problem, after the number of rat sightings doubled in the past year.
In June, the mayor’s office even reported a 15 percent drop in rat sightings, compared to 2022.
Chicago’s Bureau of Rodent Control is short-staffed and often responds late to rat complaints, according to an investigation by Illinois Answers and Block Club
New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams hired rat-catcher Kathleen Corradi (pictured right) for $155,000-a-year in April
A rat scavenges for food on a sidewalk on 23rd Street near 6th Avenue in NYC in August
Harlem is among four so-called ‘mitigation zones’ receiving extra funding from the city to try and get rid of rats.
New York City leaders have been trying to control the rodent population for generations with mixed results, but sightings of rats in parks, sidewalks and other places in the city have increased with things only getting steadily worse since the pandemic.
Under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, rats survived a multimillion-dollar effort that aimed to reduce their numbers with more garbage pickups and better housing inspections in targeted neighborhoods.
The city even launched a program to use dry ice to suffocate rats in their hiding spots – but still the rats remain.
City officials insist they are winning in the war against rats: ‘New York City used to be known for our mean streets, but, going forward, we’re going to be known for our clean streets,’ Adams promised at the start of summer.