"Rattiest cities" in the US: Two Texas cities make Orkin's top 20

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Cities are often home to a wide range of wildlife, including a fair share of scurrying rodents, but, according to a recent report, some cities may have more rats than others. In October, Orkin released a of the "rattiest cities" in the U.S. and a pair of Texas cities made the top 20.

In a blog post, Orkin said it determined this list based on the total number of treatments (commercial and residential) conducted in U.S. metro areas between Sept. 2020 and Sept. 2021. In order, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. rank as the top five “rattiest” cities in the U.S., according to Orkin.

Interestingly, the top five is identical to the company's 2020 rattiest cities roundup, with the Windy City claiming the No. 1 spot for seven consecutive years, Orkin said.

Further down the list, a pair of Texas cities made the top 20, with Houston coming in at No. 18 and Dallas at No. 20. In Orkin’s 2020 rankings, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth claimed the No. 17 and No. 16 spots, respectively.

A portion of the post focuses on shifting rodent behavior due to the coronavirus pandemic, related business closures and more.

“The pandemic-driven closure of restaurants forced rodents to find new food sources. Without food waste to consume, these pests were seen scavenging new areas and exhibiting unusual or aggressive behavior,” reads a portion of the post.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 163,000 U.S. businesses listed on Yelp had closed, according to Yelp's September 2020 Local Economic Impact Report, but many businesses have reopened in recent months. Nationally, 85% of businesses that closed temporarily during the coronavirus pandemic have since reopened as of the end of September, according to Yelp's latest quarterly report.

“As people resume normal activities, food availability will rise,” said Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist, in a post. “Rodents are experts at sniffing out food and shelter, and they’re resilient in their ways to obtain both. After a year of depleted resources, residential properties offer the ideal habitat for rodents, and once they’ve settled in, they’re capable of reproducing rapidly and in large quantities.”

Rat prevention: Keeping rodents out of the home

In the post, Orkin also provided a list of ways people can help prevent rats from setting up shop in or near their homes. This includes storing food in sealed containers, decluttering spaces, preventing “landscaping” such as grass and woodpiles from running "wild,"  looking for potential animal "entry points" and inspecting the property for droppings and other signs of rodents.