America’s Most Rat-Infested City Revealed

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Thankful Photography

The Big Apple is not No. 1 regarding where rats choose to take up residence. According to new reports, NYC is not the country’s rattiest city despite being the largest metropolitan area in the country.

For the eighth year in a row, the Windy City topped Orkin’s list of America’s most rat-infested cities. The pest control company releases an annual list of cities with the highest rodent population.

Orkin determined this by looking at metro areas, and the number of new rodent treatments performed yearly, including residential and commercial treatments.

Over the past several years, Orkin’s top 10 list has remained mostly steady, with some regions moving up or down one or two places.

The nation’s top 10 most rat-infested cities are Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, and Denver.

In addition, there have been some surprising changes on the list since 2021. For instance, New York beat Los Angeles for the No. 2 spot and entered the top 20 for 2022 in Hartford, Connecticut (taking the No. 19 spot), and Miami (moving up three places to claim the No. 20 spot).

Moreover, places like South Bend, Indiana; Fort Wayne, Indiana and Orlando, Florida were new additions to the list since last year.

New project could see rats help rescuers locate Earthquake survivors

However, some are pushing back on the idea that tats are a nuisance. For example, the Hero Rats Project trains these creatures to help with earthquakes. They train rats to wear backpacks equipped with location trackers and microphones, so the rodent can help people rescue and locate survivors stuck in earthquake debris.

The new, potentially ground-breaking project is currently being worked on by research scientist Dr. Donna Kean from Glasgow, Scotland.

At first, Dr. Kean was interested in primate behavior. However, she later became fascinated by how fast rodents can learn and adapt when taught something new. In addition, she describes them as “sociable” creatures.

“We hope it will save lives. The results are really promising,” Dr. Kean said of her study.

Kean adds that their small size and superb sense of smell make them perfect for locating things in tight spaces.

Currently, researchers are training the rats to find survivors in a simulated disaster zone. They must first locate the target person in an empty room. They then tug on a switch on their vest that prompts a beeper, and then return to base. Once there, they are rewarded with a treat.

While the rodents are still in the early stages, researchers are working with the Eindhoven University of Technology to develop a backpack with a video camera, two-way microphone, and location transmitter to help first responders communicate with potential survivors.

“Together with the backpack and the training, the rats are incredibly useful for search and rescue,” says Kean.