The Windy City topped the list of the most seedy cities in America for the sixth consecutive year.
Orkin, an Atlanta-based pest control service, ranks U.S. cities based on the number of new rodent treatments from September 1 to August 31 of each year. The result is a list of 50 cities, with most of the locations changing each time the list is updated. Chicago, however, is still No. 1.
“Rodents are experts at sniffing food and shelter, and they’re resilient in their ways of getting both,” Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist, said in the company’s press release. “Residential properties provide ideal habitat for rodents and, once established, they are able to reproduce quickly and in large numbers.
Efforts to tame the city’s rat population have continued 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 reduce their numbers.
How the pandemic has exacerbated rat populations
Statewide mandates to stay home and shut down businesses haven’t just affected the human population, according to Orkin.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an entire section on their website devoted to rodent control.
“Community-wide closures have resulted in a decrease in the food available for 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. ”
And Orkin warns that rat activity “will only continue to increase” as rodents have started seeking warm shelter as the months get colder.
Chicago may not be the only troubled city. Rankings for the other cities on Orkin’s “crappyest cities” list are available on the company’s website.