Denver, CO

Rat-infested Denver pays $100,000 per month for exterminator

David Heitz
Photo byBrett Jordan/Unsplash

Keeping vermin under control in the nation’s tenth most rat-infested city costs Denver $100,000 per month – and that doesn’t include the airport.

That’s according to a contract extension the Finance and Governance Committee of the Denver City Council will vote on March 14. Northern Colorado Pest and Wildlife Control Corp. provides pest control services citywide, excluding Denver International Airport. The current $700,000 contract is set to expire on March 31, 2023.

City officials have asked the council for another $100,000 to continue pest control services for another month until a new contract is signed.

“Additional services requests have been submitted due to an influx of rodents and pests found in and around the city facilities, therefore increasing the monthly costs that were not previously projected when the contract was executed in 2017,” according to a memo from city staff to the City Council. “This contract maximum increase is projected to cover all costs to the end of the contract term.”

City buildings from several departments are served by the contract, including general services, parks and recreation, county jail, electronic engineering bureau, arts and venues, library, and Denver Fire Department.

Denver dubbed a rat-infested city

In October 2022, Denver gained the dubious distinction of being named the tenth rattiest city in the U.S. as ranked by Orkin. Orkin based its rankings on the number of new residential and commercial rodent treatments performed between Sept. 1, 2021, and Aug. 31, 2022.

For eight years, Orkin's named Chicago the country's rattiest city. The ranking goes:

  • Chicago
  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Washington, D.C.
  • San Francisco
  • Philadelphia
  • Baltimore
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Detroit
  • Denver

The full City Council also must vote on the contract extension.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

Denver, CO

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