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Chicago is America’s “rattest city” for the sixth consecutive year

Windy City tops the list of dirtiest cities in the United States for the sixth consecutive year.

Orkin, an Atlanta-based pest control service, ranks cities in the United States based on the number of new rodent treatments from September 1 to August 31 each year. The result is a list of 50 cities, with most of the points changing each time the list is updated. Chicago, however, is still number 1.

“Rodents are experts at sniffing food and shelter, and they are resilient in the way they get them,” Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist, said in the company’s press release. “Residential properties provide the ideal habitat for rodents and once they are established they are able to reproduce quickly and in large numbers.”
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 in 2016. Residents had even started adopting cats to crush their numbers.

Rounding out the top 10 on Orkin’s list were Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Denver, and Minneapolis.

How the pandemic has exacerbated rat populations

According to Orkin, state-level mandates to stay home and close businesses have not only affected the human population.

With the restaurants closed, the rats are becoming aggressive, the CDC says
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an entire section of their website devoted to rodent control.

“Community-wide closures have led to a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in high-density commercial areas,” according to the website. “Some jurisdictions have reported increased rodent activity as rodents seek out new food sources.”

And Orkin warns that the activity of the mice “will continue to increase” as the rodents have begun to seek warm shelter as the months get colder.

Chicago may not be the only city in trouble. Rankings for other cities on Orkin’s “dirtiest cities” can be found on the company’s website.

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