Invasion Alert: The Cities That Are Battling the Worst Pest Problems


From impervious ants to mice, pest infestations can spiral out of control if not addressed promptly.

Beyond annoying household nuisances, pests can damage property and even create serious health risks for humans and pets.

Unfortunately, certain U.S. cities are more vulnerable than others when battling dangerously high populations of unwelcome houseguests.

In this article, we’ll shine a spotlight on 12 urban locations that are currently waging an uphill battle against some of the worst invasions of common household pests!

#1. Atlanta

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Are you planning on moving to Atlanta, Georgia?

While Atlanta has a lot to offer, you’ll want to reconsider your choice if you don’t like pests.

Atlanta is the top city with one of the worst pest problems, with an estimated 165.9 pest sightings per 100,000 residents.

There were 115.3 rat sightings and 712.3 cockroach sightings in 2021 alone.

Although the numbers may change, it’s likely not a significant change.

#2. Miami

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Chances are, if you have a major city, you have a serious pest problem.

After all, the city is the perfect place for pests as it has everything they need to survive.

Miami is another terrible city to live in if you have an issue with pests, with an estimated 141 pest sightings per 100,000 residents.

The study breaks this down to 80.6 rat sightings and 543.1 cockroach sightings in a year.

That’s a lot of pests.

#3. Washington, D.C.

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There are a lot of pests in Washington, D.C., and we aren’t talking about any politicians here.

They have an estimated combined 83.7 pest sightings per 100,000 residents.

Broken down, this totals 348.6 rat sightings and 228.5 cockroach sightings a year.

#4. Boston

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Boston is a beautiful city worth visiting, but not necessarily worth staying in.

Boston, Massachusetts, boasts a massive 72.8 pest sightings per 100,000 residents.

The average across the year is 417.8 rat sightings and 74.4 cockroach sightings.

#5. Riverside, California

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Riverside, California, is a bit of an outlier on this list, given that it isn’t a major city like other mentions.

Instead, it’s a city in California with a major pest problem that beats out even some of the bigger locations that California is known for.

Riverside has an estimated 71.1 pest sightings per 100,000 residents.

This boils down to 89.9 rat sightings and 134.0 cockroach sightings in a year.

#6. Houston

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Texas and California are, unsurprisingly, some of the best places for pests to live, with the bulk of them congregating in the cities.

This can be seen in cities like Houston, which has an average of 50.4 pest sightings per 100,000 residents.

In 2021, there were an estimated 202.9 rat sightings and 957.5 cockroach sightings.

#7. Dallas

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Houston comes in sixth place, and Dallas comes in seventh, giving the state back-to-back rankings for worst pest problems.

Dallas ranks slightly lower than Houston, with an estimated 45.6 per 100,000 residents.

They had 131.2 rat sightings and 463.7 cockroach sightings in 2021.

#8. Philadelphia

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Philadelphia may be a great city, but it also has a major pest problem, with an estimated 43.6 pest sightings per 100,000 residents.

Residents saw an average of 480.1 rat sightings and 219.4 cockroach sightings in 2021.

#9. San Francisco

san francisco
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San Francisco is known for many things, and unfortunately, one of them is the level of filth that seems to permeate the city.

The same goes for New York City, which is next.

As a result, it’s not a surprise that they rank among the top cities with the worst pest problems.

San Francisco has an average of 27.7 pest sightings per 100,000, with 161.9 rat sightings and 80.5 cockroach sightings in 2021.

#10. New York City

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New York City comes in tenth, which might be surprising to many.

While New York City does have a major pest problem, the reality is that its size skews the data, making it so that it seems to be less of a problem than it is.

New York City has an estimated 27.2 pest sightings per 100,000 residents, for which there were a stunning 1,164.9 rat sightings and 1,225.7 cockroach sightings in 2021 alone.

#11. Detroit

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Detroit, Michigan, may have trouble hanging onto its population given the course that the city has taken, but it has no shortage of pests to populate it.

Detroit has an estimated 25.4 pest sightings per 100,000 residents, with 139.3 rat sightings and 22.8 cockroach sightings in 2021.

#12. Los Angeles

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Los Angeles is the second California city to make this list, and it’s not entirely surprising.

They have an estimated 23.8 pest sightings per 100,000 residents, with a much more substantial 279.7 rat sightings and 647.7 cockroach sightings throughout 2021.

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