Orkin's pest controllers just recently published the negative hit list of the US cities worst affected by rat infestations, on their website. And the Big Apple ended up in an embarrassing second place.
From September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022, Orkin ranked metro regions based on the number of new rodent treatments performed. Both residential and commercial treatments are included in this ranking.
A rat infestation in the home is the epitome of a nightmare for most. Rodents have been feared since the Middle Ages. And not without reason, because rats were long blamed for the outbreak of the plague in the 14th century. Even if this theory is now questioned by some researchers, the horror and the negative perception of the rodents remain.
"Rodent infestations are among the top pest issues of the fall and winter seasons," said Orkin entomologist Ben Hottel. "Not only are mice and rats a nuisance, but they have been linked to the spread of dangerous diseases such as Salmonella and Hantavirus."
For the magazine "People" this is nevertheless reason for a "collective sigh of relief": The city is no longer the most "rattiest" place, as so often in the past. Instead, Chicago has held the number one spot for the eighth consecutive year. In general, the list of the top ten has remained almost unchanged in recent years:
Chicago and New York are followed by Los Angeles in third place, followed by Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit and Denver.
However, with New York slipping down a notch since last year, there's no reason to be overjoyed. Because obviously pest control actions do not show the desired results. For many years, residents of the metropolis have complained about the malware, some of which have become YouTube stars.
According to the Orkin report, an estimated 21 million US homes are infested with mice and rats. Especially in the months from October to February, the rodents look for food, water and protection from the cold in buildings.
Due to the pandemic-related relocation of restaurant operations outdoors, rats have had easy access to food since 2020 and have therefore increased in numbers. Pest controllers warn against leaving food leftovers inside or outside. Rats not only leave behind an unpleasant odor with their droppings and urine. They also transmit various dangerous pathogens, including salmonella and hantavirus. They can also destroy cables, water and gas pipes.
Controlling and driving away rats is not an act of cruelty to animals. Rats are still capable of transmitting dangerous diseases. Brown rats in particular transmit diseases such as rabies, tuberculosis, hepatitis, typhus, amoebic dysentery and some other diseases with their parasites. In addition, the animals contaminate human food and animal feed with their excrement and germs. Therefore, one of the homeowner's responsibilities is to prevent and control rat infestations.
The signs of a rat infestation
To control rats, early detection of an infestation is crucial, because rats breed incredibly fast. A female brings about twelve times up to 20 young are born each year. Who fresh rat droppings, footprints or gnawing marks discovered should be noticed. The tracks also go with a penetrating, acrid smell of ammonia together, it is most likely rats. Because the rodents often using the same paths, the tracks can lead you to the vermin's nest. Also, in search of the rat's nest, check any light-protected areas such as little used rooms, attic, basement and elevator shafts, so they know and can control all the safe havens when driving away the rats.
Tip: In the event of a rat infestation, as a precaution, dispose of all food that has not been stored in the refrigerator, in tins or jars. You should wash the outside of cans and jars with hot water before opening them.
Rats are not just cute and bad at the same time, they are also highly intelligent.
How the intelligence of rats can help us:
Rats have been trained for life-saving tasks for a while. Their exceptional sense of smell can aid in detecting landmines and even tuberculosis. As »People« reports, rats are being trained as part of the »Hero Rats Project« for possible use in rescue measures after earthquakes. For this purpose, they would be equipped with microphones and GPS transmitters to support rescue workers in tracking down people who have been buried.
The project is led by Scottish scientist Donna Kean:
"We hope it will save lives, the results are very promising".
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