As fall rolls in, pest control leader Orkin reminds homeowners to take precautions to help keep rodents out. Orkin released its Top 50 Rattiest Cities list today. Chicago topped the list again, after previously ranking first in 2014. The Midwest region had the greatest number of cities on the list, with 13 in the top 50.

The cities are ranked by the number of rodent treatments the company performed from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. This ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

1. Chicago

2. New York

3. Washington D.C.

4. Los Angeles

5. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose

6. Baltimore

7. Philadelphia

8. Minneapolis-St. Paul

9. Detroit

10. Denver

11. Seattle-Tacoma

12. Boston

13. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale

14. Dallas-Ft. Worth

15. Cleveland

16. Atlanta

17. Hartford & New Haven, Conn.

18. Pittsburgh

19. Indianapolis

20. Portland, Ore.

21. Houston

22. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

23. Milwaukee

24. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va.

25. Richmond-Petersburg, Va.

26. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.

27. Charlotte, N.C.

28. St. Louis

29. Buffalo, N.Y.

30. Kansas City, Mo.

31. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.

32. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif.

33. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich.

34. Cincinnati

35. Rochester, N.Y.

36. West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, Fla.

37. Columbus, Ohio

38. New Orleans, La.

39. Nashville, Tenn.

40. Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville, S.C.

41. Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Mich.

42. Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M.

43. Portland-Auburn, Maine

44. Green Bay-Appleton, Wis.

45. Phoenix

46. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla.

47. San Diego

48. Burlington-Plattsburgh, Vt.

49. Madison, Wis.

50. Salt Lake City

Rodents are a prevalent problem across the United States. According to a recent survey commissioned by Orkin, 40 percent of people surveyed have had rodents present in their home at some point.

Fall marks the start of rodent season. As the weather gets colder, unwanted pests like rats and mice seek out food, water and shelter to survive the winter.

“Just like we put on a warm coat and turn up the heat indoors, rodents look for a warm place to nest,” says John Kane, entomologist and technical director of Orkin’s Midwest Region. “Fall evenings as mild as those in the mid-50’s can send rodents indoors to search for warmth, where they can cause hundreds of dollars in damages to homes and businesses,” Kane said, adding that they do not need much of an invitation to enter a home.

“Rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter, while mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime—making it crucial to prepare for rodent season, whether or not your city made the list,” Kane adds. Further, where such holes are absent, rodents can create them through constant chewing.

Once a rodent is inside, it can become an issue quickly. Rodents reproduce rapidly and like to chew on wood and electrical wires, which increases the risk of a fire in your home.

Rodents are not only a property damage threat; they are also a food contamination and health threat with the potential to cause serious illnesses.

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.

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.

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