Boston once again ranked as one of America’s ‘rattiest’ cities


Three New England cities are included in the top 50.

George Rizer/Boston Globe

Boston is once again one of America’s “rattiest” cities, at least according to Orkin’s annual rankings.

Each year, the pest control company ranks the top 50 “hottest” cities in the country based on the number of new rodent treatments performed in each location. The 2022 list takes into account treatments performed from September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022.

Boston came in 13th on the list, just ahead of Atlanta and behind Minneapolis. Chicago retained the top spot, and New York City overtook Los Angeles to become the second most populous city in the country.

“Rodent infestations are among the biggest pest problems of the fall and winter season,” said Ben Hottel, an orkin entomologist, in a statement. “Not only are mice and rats a nuisance, but they are also known to spread a variety of dangerous diseases, including salmonella and hantavirus.”

Boston wasn’t the only New England city to make the list. Hartford entered the top 20 this year at number 19. Portland was listed at number 45 and crept into the top 50.

This is the third year in a row that Boston has ranked 13th on the list. It rose to this spot in 2020. Hartford jumped two places this year while Portland fell seven places.

According to Orkin, mice, rats and other rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States each fall. From October to February, they usually find their way into homes while searching for food, water, and shelter from the cold.

According to Orkin, the pandemic also appears to be having an impact on rodent populations due to the influx of outdoor restaurants. These areas provide a convenient place for rodents to feed, live, and reproduce.

City officials have recently taken steps to address a rat-related problem: exposed trash in inner cities. Councilors Kenzie Bok, Ruthzee Louijeune and Ed Flynn called for a hearing to raise the issue of “a dumpsterisation pilot project” to address the issue.

While trash cans are of course allowed in downtown Boston, officials said many families and businesses don’t throw their trash in those trash cans because of a lack of storage space both on their properties and at the curb when it’s trash day.

Instead, people often just store their trash in a bag outside. Rats and other tough animals can easily chew through these materials.

“We end up having a street rat buffet, so to speak,” Bok said at a city council meeting.

Councilor Michael Flaherty said rodent numbers are steadily increasing.

“Reports of rodent infestations have increased significantly,” he said. “We’ve really seen an uptick during COVID, but even as of these days the numbers continue to rise.”

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