Detroit rises on list of worst US cities for rats in 2017

Detroit sees 22 percent increase in rodent treatment


DETROIT – Detroit is even rattier than it was last year, according to Orkin.

Orkin released their annual list of the worst cities for rats, and Detroit is climbing the charts. 

Last year, Detroit was ranked No. 9 - this year, the city takes the No. 7 spot on the list. Detroit saw a 22.14% percentage increase in rodent treatment from 2016 to 2017. 

An average of 21 million homes report a rodent issue each year in the U.S. It only takes a hole the size of a quarter for a rat to squeeze inside, and a hole the size of a dime for mice.

Other Michigan cities made the list, as well. Grand Rapids - Kalamazoo ranked No. 34 and Flint - Saginaw ranked No. 49 - both dropped on the list from last year.

Here's the full list of the Top 50:

1. Chicago
2. New York
3. Los Angeles (+1)
4. San Francisco – Oakland (+1)
5. Washington, DC (-2)
6. Philadelphia (+1)
7. Detroit (+2)
8. Baltimore (-2)
9. Seattle – Tacoma (+2)
10. Dallas – Ft. Worth (+4)
11. Denver (-1)
12. Minneapolis – St. Paul (-4)
13. Cleveland – Akron (+2)
14. Atlanta (+2)
15. Boston (-3)
16. Hartford – New Haven (+1)
17. Portland, OR (+3)
18. Miami – Ft. Lauderdale (-5)
19. Indianapolis 
20. Houston (+1)
21. Milwaukee (+2)
22. Pittsburgh (-4)
23. New Orleans (+15)
24. Cincinnati (+10)
25. Richmond – Petersburg
26. Sacramento – Stockton (+6)
27. Kansas City (+3)
28. Charlotte (-1)
29. Norfolk – Portsmouth – Newport News (-5)
30. Buffalo (-1)
31. Columbus, OH (+6)
32. St. Louis (-4)
33. Raleigh – Durham (-11)
34. Grand Rapids – Kalamazoo (-1)
35. San Diego (+12)
36. Albany – Schenectady (-10)
37. San Antonio 
38. Tampa – St. Petersburg (-7)
39. Rochester, NY (-4)
40. Nashville (-1)
41. Champaign – Springfield – Decatur 
42. Greenville – Spartanburg (-2)
43. Memphis 
44. Phoenix (+1)
45. Syracuse
46. West Palm Beach (-10)
47. Orlando – Daytona Beach (-1)
48. Madison (+1)
49. Flint – Saginaw (-8)
50. Green Bay – Appleton (-6)

“Rats and mice begin looking for warmer, more insulated places to get through the winter, and these too often happen to be our homes or businesses,” said John Kane, entomologist and Technical Director of Orkin’s Midwest Region. “Rodents like to chew on wood and electrical wires, increasing the fire danger behind your walls and potentially damage to your home.” Kane added it’s not hard for rodents to get inside a home or business.

“Rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter, while mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime,” Kane said. “Even if they can’t find an opening, they can often chew their way in.”

Rodents chew on many materials, including wood and the insulation around wires. It’s estimated approximately 25 percent of unexplained wildfires start from rodent chewing. If rodent issues go unrecognized or ignored, their chewing can damage wires in the attic, basement or even in vehicles.  Rodent burrowing can also cause cracks in a home’s foundation. “Beyond property damage, there are other important reasons to prevent, notice and eliminate rodent infestations.  They can contaminate food and transmit pathogens through urine, feces and bites that affect health.” 

To help people avoid the health and safety risks that are possible with these pests, Orkin recommends the following tips to help prevent rodents around the home:

•    Inspect both inside and outside the home for rodent droppings, burrows and rub marks along baseboards and walls. The more quickly rodents are detected, the better.
•    Look for possible entry points outside the home and seal cracks and holes if any are found. Think, “where would YOU hide or enter if you were a rodent?”  It’ll be hidden, dark, probably warm, and difficult to reach! 
•    Install weather strips around entryways, especially under doors, to help block rodents from sneaking inside.
•    Store food properly by keeping it sealed tightly in rodent-proof containers like plastic bins or metal canisters. Otherwise, rodents may smell food and break into weaker containers.
•    Clean up crumbs and spills as soon as they happen to avoid leaving food residue or sugary substances that can attract rodents.
•    Cut back trees and bushes to at least three feet away from homes to avoid giving rodents a “jumping off” point to access the gutters, roof or other hidden openings.

Using the tips above, homes across the nation can be better equipped to keep rodents out. If there is ever a time when a rodent infestation is suspected, contact a local pest management expert as soon as possible.

About the Author: