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The Biggest Pest Problems in Major U.S. Cities

Blog, Wildlife Off 543

What’s bugging you lately? That is- what irritating pests are invading your home and backyard? The pesky pests you encounter regularly vary depending on where you live. The types of mammal and insect pests in Miami are vastly different than the pests in Seattle, as you might imagine.

But which pests exactly are the worst perpetrators in each city? Maybe you’re looking to move to the Big Apple, or you have a craving for some Chicago hot dogs and are looking to move to the Windy City. Before you do, learn what pests call these major US cities home with this handy infographic.

Pest Problems US Cities


Let’s start with New York. The Big Apple is notorious for its overwhelming rat population, with recent estimates suggesting that about two million black and brown rats live in New York. White-footed mice also inhabit the remaining forests in and immediately around New York City, and interestingly, scientists have found some evidence that natural selection has changed their genes to be different from their rural counterparts. New York is also home to insect pests such as bedbugs, cockroaches, and ants (who actually help New Yorkers by eating 2,100 pounds of food per year off the street).

The rest of the East Coast also experiences rat and bedbug problems. In 2014, Philadelphia exterminators declared it the worst bedbug year to date in Philadelphia, and Boston consistently ranks among one of the most bedbug infested cities in the country, partially due to the common practice of furniture recycling.

In the Midwest, Chicago is perennially considered the “Rattiest City” in the U.S. based on the number of rodent treatments performed; the Second City also tops the list of the worst U.S. cities for bedbug infestations. As if that wasn’t enough, the population of pigeons in Chicago is unusually large, leading city leaders to net and “deport” pigeons to Indiana.

On the West Coast, rats aren’t as big of a problem; however, with recent mild winters, rats have become more of a problem in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. In the desert cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix, be on the lookout for scorpions, spiders, and coyotes. Coyotes are apt to disrupt local ecologies and are a danger to small animals and pets, while scorpions and spiders thrive in an arid climate. Luckily, scorpions are typically harmless except for a painful sting; residents should learn to distinguish between harmless and potentially harmful species of spiders, however.

In the humid southern quadrant of the United States, mosquitos reign supreme. New Orleans, Houston, and Miami are all prone to mosquito infestations, and New Orleans even goes so far as to have regular anti-mosquito sprayings by trucks and airplanes at night. Interestingly, Alaska also has an intense (although short) mosquito season; the unofficial record for most mosquitoes killed in one swat is 78!

Unfortunately, no matter where you live, you’re going to encounter some sort of household pest that will make the living a little less easy. Work with your local exterminator to control your household’s pests and avoid any pest-related dangers.

About the author / 

Vito Brancato

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