Great weather, delicious food, and a prime waterfront location have always helped Seattle rank among the top cities in America. But these appealing qualities also attract some undesirable neighbors - rats! The Seattle-Tacoma region placed ninth in the 2017 ranking of America's top 50 most rat infested cities. Seattle is "ratty!"
Top 10 Rattiest Cities in the U.S.
2. New York
3. Los Angeles
4. San Francisco
5. Washington, DC
9. Seattle - Tacoma
10. Dallas - Fort Worth
The metro areas are ranked annually by a very large national pest control company according to the number of rodent treatments the company performed from September 15th, 2016 to September 15th 2017, including both commercial and residential treatments.
Why is Seattle one of the most rat infested cities in America?
According to the article by Jen Swanson of Seattle Magazine, "Our city's hyper construction is causing more than traffic issues. Experts believe it's one reason our city is ranking high as a rodent-infested town, and getting rid of the pests is anything but easy."
The problem may be getting worse due to the large amount of development and construction in the area. Where there used to be plentiful acres of open fields or forests, more and more often you find houses, neighborhoods and large building projects. We're not only moving into their habitat, we are also providing access to shelter from the chilly weather, a variety of food sources, and plenty of water. This encourages increased rodent breeding, which can grow into an exponential problem.
New culprits, the roof rats, are causing more difficulties
The rodent problem in Seattle was once limited to the Norway rat, which burrows underground and gets into residential crawl spaces. However, now the roof rat has become a more prolific threat. Roof rats live high off the ground, in the rafters of buildings or attic spaces of homes, and they come down to feed on food they find in garbage or kitchen pantries - wherever they can find it, they'll take it. These critters have helped move Seattle up the list of most rat infested cities.
Rules and regulations won't make them go away, but they help
In 2017, Seattle city officials passed new legislation echoing the previous programs in Kirkland and Shoreline that require developers to start pest abatement programs before performing any demolition on buildings, whether residential or commercial.
This means developers need to call out companies like Eastside Exterminators to handle the rodent control at the property before construction begins, eliminating the displacement of rats in that structure. Therefore, fewer rats are free to flee from the construction site to go infest a different property. This is great news for both pest control companies and the neighborhoods surrounding the construction sites.
Rodent abatement laws have helped reduce the problem, but not by as much as city officials had hoped.
Birth control for rats might help solve the Seattle rodent problem
One longer-term solution to the ongoing rat problem is to target their reproductive capabilities. Unhindered, a single breeding pair can produce 15,000 progeny in just one year's time. Think of it as rat contraception. ContraPest is a liquid formula that causes infertility in rodents, but the product is not yet available in Seattle. A successful trial in New York City's rat-infested Grand Central Station trash room reduced rodent population by nearly half in just 12 weeks time.
There are several more trials that have taken place in Chicago, North Carolina, Hawaii and other areas. When SenseTech's fertility treatments are combined with rat-resistant trash cans and pest abatement programs, populations are significantly reduced. The current sweet liquid formula (which is tempting to the sugar loving and fat craving rats) is being developed into a solid formula that will better fit the needs of a variety of ecologies and climates.
What can we all do to be a part of the solution?
While awaiting a high-tech solution to the rat problem, Seattle's rat control experts continue to use the reliable, time-tested methods of rat and mouse control. Nothing yet has been as effective as good old fashioned hard work and inspection. The problem can be addressed on a family-by-family basis by using Eastside's 4-Step Rodent Control Process: Carefully inspect the home or building for activity and potential access points (where they enter the property), lure and trap the existing rats to remove them from the property, perform exclusion repairs (and re-inspect afterwards to ensure there is no breach of the barriers that were installed to keep the rats out), and perform careful sanitation and clean-up of all contaminated areas. Don't forget the importance of ongoing protection, too! Conquering the rat problem will take a lot of work, but will make our environment a much cleaner, safer place to live.
Read more about Seattle's ranking among the most rat infested cities in the Seattle Magazine article.
See a rat? Call Eastside Exterminators now to stop the problem from getting out of control: (425) 482-2100.