D.C. ranks among ‘rattiest cities’ in the U.S.

WASHINGTON — Washington, D.C. , is known for lots of things: monuments, museums, cherry blossoms — and now rats.

The nation’s capital ranked as one of the top cities for rats in the United States, according to research from pest control company, Orkin.

D.C. ranked No. 3 on the annual “rattiest cities” list behind Chicago and Los Angeles. The major markets are ranked by the number of rodent treatments the company performed in 2013.

Below is the list of the top 10 “rattiest cities”:

  1. Chicago
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. New York
  5. San Francisco
  6. Seattle
  7. Detroit
  8. Cleveland
  9. Baltimore
  10. Miami

The fall is a time of year when many rats and mice invade houses looking for shelter from the approaching winter. An estimated 21 million American homes are infiltrated by the rodents in the fall, according to Orkin.

Also, one-third of Americans saw a rodent in their home in the last year, the 2013 Orkin survey found.

“Each city on this list is a major urban area that provides ideal conditions for rats and mice to thrive,” entomologist and Orkin Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, said in a news release. “Commensal rodents depend on humans and their resources to survive, so unless residents and city officials take proactive steps to prevent rodents, infestations can easily get out of hand.”

Orkin recommends the following tips to help prevent rodents:

  • Inspect. Regular inspections can spot rodent droppings, rub marks or burrows.
  • Seal cracks and gaps. Any holes or gaps larger than one-quarter inch should be sealed. Also, adding weather stripping at the bottom of the exterior doors can prevent rodents from squeezing through.
  • Trim landscaping. Overgrown branches, plants and bushes should be trimmed to increase visibility near the house. Orkin recommends keeping a 2-foot barrier between any landscaping and the home.
  • Store food. Have all food, including pet food, stored properly in sealed containers both inside and outside. The same goes for garbage.

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