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 the “rattiest” cities in America, at least according to Orkin’s annual rankings.

Each year, the pest management company ranks the top 50 “rattiest” 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 Sept. 1, 2021 to Aug. 31, 2022. 

Boston came in at number 13 on the list, just ahead of Atlanta and behind Minneapolis. Chicago retained the top spot, and New York City surpassed Los Angeles to become the country’s second “rattiest” city. 


“Rodent infestations are among the top pest issues of the fall and winter seasons,” Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist, said in a statement. “Not only are mice and rats a nuisance, but they are known to spread a variety of dangerous diseases, including Salmonella and Hantavirus.”

Boston was not the only New England city represented on the list. Hartford entered the top 20 this year, coming in at 19. Portland was listed at number 45, sneaking into the top 50. 

This is the third straight year that Boston has been ranked 13 on the list. It rose to that spot in 2020. Hartford jumped two spots this year, while Portland fell seven spots. 

Mice, rats, and other rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the U.S. every fall, according to Orkin. From October through February, they typically find their way into homes while searching for food, water, and shelter from the cold. 

The pandemic appears to have impacted rodent populations as well, due to the influx of outdoor dining structures, according to Orkin. These areas provide a convenient place for rodents to eat, live, and reproduce. 

City officials recently took steps to address one rat-related problem: uncovered trash in downtown areas. City Councilors Kenzie Bok, Ruthzee Louijeune, and Ed Flynn called for a hearing to broach the topic of  “a trash containerization pilot” to deal with the issue.


While trash cans are of course allowed in downtown Boston, officials said that many families and businesses are not putting their waste into those bins due to a lack of storage space both on their properties and on the curb when it is trash day. 

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

“We’re sort of ending up with a rat buffet out on the street,” Bok said at a City Council meeting. 

Councilor Michael Flaherty said that rodent numbers are rising steadily. 

“The reports for rodent infestation have risen considerably,” he said. “We really saw an uptick during COVID, but even since those days, the numbers continue to rise.”


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com