Two California cities in the top 5

(NEXSTAR) – Do you live in a nightmarish landscape infested with rats?

If you live in a big city, the answer is probably yes. But chances are you don’t live in the country more nightmarish landscape infested with rats – at least according to the findings of a national pest control company.

This week, Orkin released its 2021 list of America’s “Most Failed Cities,” which ranks 50 of the country’s busiest metropolitan areas based on the “number of new rodent treatments” made in the last year. Specifically, Orkin studied new rodent treatments performed between September 15, 2020 and September 15, 2021, in residential and commercial properties.

Chicago, a city considered by Orkin to be the nation’s “most failed” for a seventh straight year, holds the top spot in 2021 — and is keeping its streak alive.

Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC and San Francisco round out a top five that has remained unchanged since the 2020 list. Baltimore, meanwhile, climbed two places to No. 6, dropping Detroit to No. 8 and overtaking Philadelphia, whose ranking has remained stable since 2020 at No. 7.

While the “worst cities” of 2021 remained largely unchanged, many cities at the bottom end of the list had shifted or clawed at each other, like so many rats in a nest. Most notably, Portland, Maine, climbed 26 places to 38th place, marking its first-ever top-50 appearance since Orkin began its ranking.

Orkin says the rats themselves were also becoming more unpredictable in their behavior, in part due to COVID-induced shutdowns.

“The closure of restaurants due to the pandemic has forced rodents to find new sources of food,” read a press release issued by Orkin this week. “With no food waste to consume, these pests have been seen scavenging new areas and displaying unusual or aggressive behavior.”

The company further urged apartment owners or dwellers to remain vigilant for rodent infestations.

“After a year of depleted resources, residential properties provide the ideal habitat for rodents, and once settled, they are able to reproduce quickly and in large numbers,” said Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist quoted in the newspaper. Press release.

A full list of Orkin’s “worst cities” can be found below, with plus (+) or minus (-) symbols indicating how they’ve changed from last year’s list:

  1. Chicago
  2. Los Angeles
  3. New York
  4. washington d.c.
  5. San Francisco
  6. Baltimore (+2)
  7. philadelphia cream
  8. Detroit (-2)
  9. denver
  10. Cleveland (+1)
  11. Seattle (+1)
  12. Minneapolis (-2)
  13. Boston
  14. Indianapolis (+1)
  15. Atlanta (-1)
  16. Pittsburgh (+2)
  17. San Diego (+2)
  18. Houston (-1)
  19. Cincinnati (+3)
  20. Dallas (-4)
  21. Hartford, Connecticut. (+6)
  22. Milwaukee (+2)
  23. Miami (-3)
  24. Portland, OR (-1)
  25. Kansas City (+5)
  26. Columbus, Ohio. (+2)
  27. Norfolk, Virginia. (-2)
  28. Richmond, Virginia. (+5)
  29. Sacrament (+7)
  30. St. Louis (+7)
  31. Albany, NY (+7)
  32. Great Rapids (-3)
  33. New Orleans (-12)
  34. Flint, Michigan. (+8)
  35. Raleigh, NC (-9)
  36. Nashville (-2)
  37. Champagne, Illinois (+2)
  38. Portland, Maine (+26)
  39. Burlington, Virginia. (+8)
  40. Louisville, Kentucky. (+13)
  41. Buffalo, New York
  42. Charlotte (-11)
  43. Phoenix (-11)
  44. Greenville, SC (-9)
  45. Green Bay
  46. Syracuse (-2)
  47. Charleston, West Virginia (+4)
  48. Dayton (+1)
  49. Albuquerque (-1)
  50. Tampa (-9)

More information on how to discourage rodents can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bernard P. Love