When it comes to rats, one is bad enough. A rat infestation is another matter entirely. This month we’re taking a closer look at the dangers posed by rats to homeowners in our service area, as well as revealing the top most rat infested cities there. 

Keep reading to find out more about rats, rodent pest control solutions, and more.

Rats aren’t just another nuisance; a rat infestation can pose a serious threat to health and home and should be approached with care and dealt with quickly for that reason.

Most people know that rats are a likely culprit for spreading the bubonic plague (also known popularly as The Black Death), but that’s just one example among many diseases that rodents have been known to accelerate and facilitate the spread of hantavirus, monkeypox, lyme disease, rat-bite fever, and many, many more.

Some of these illnesses are spread by the rats themselves (via bites and contamination) and some by fleas and ticks that feed on them. Some are even spread through the air as rat excrement—urine, feces and saliva—dries and breaks down. Even if they never touch you, simply sharing your space with rats can result in serious health complications.

Beyond being a major health risk to humans and pets, a rat infestation can cause serious structural and electrical damage when left untreated. Rats have been known to gnaw through wiring, drywall, and more in their quest to find food. Rats chewing through electrical wires can cause a short and even start a fire.

The South’s Most Rat Infested Cities: The List

So, now that we know what to be worried about, how worried should you be? What parts of the Southeast are most likely to see rat infestations in the house?

Without further ado, here’s the list of the most rat infested cities in the Southeast (or at least our service area):

10. Greenville, SC

9.   Rock Hill, SC 

8. Asheville, NC

7. Mount Pleasant, SC

6. Concord, NC

5. North Charleston, SC

4. Columbia, SC

3. Charleston, SC

2. Augusta, GA

1. Charlotte, NC

Live in one of these places? You’re in luck—we do, too! Your local Terminix branch is just a phone call away, where local, expertly-trained professionals are ready to help solve any rodent control problem you may be facing, rodent or otherwise.

Hey, Wait a Second…

“Hold on, now,” we hear those of you who are up-to-date on the latest census numbers saying. “That looks just like a list of the most populous cities in your service area. I thought this was supposed to be a list of the most rat infested cities!”

Busted! You got us. But, as it turns out, those two lists are one in the same.

When it comes to most rat infested cities in our service area (or most rat infested cities in the US or abroad, for that matter), it’s all a matter of population. The more people that live in a place, the more rodents you’re likely to find.

Contrary to some thinking, there’s no extra factor that contributes to higher likelihood of rodent infestation outside of how many people live there.

The South’s Least Rat Infested Cities

Is avoiding rats as simple as staying out of these cities? Not exactly.

Even if your city didn’t make the cut, there’s still plenty of opportunities for rats to get inside your home. Again, there’s nothing special about those cities on our list—they’re just the most populated. Rats are drawn to people, so wherever we go, we bring the potential for rats with us.

The more people in one place, the greater that likelihood becomes. But that doesn’t mean you can let your guard down if you live in one of the charming historic towns or beachside communities. Rats go where there’s people; they don’t much care about the locale.

How Many Rats is Considered an Infestation?

When classifying rat infestations, there’s no one specific number rat exterminators and other pest professionals have as a threshold for whether a problem is or isn’t one. 

Generally speaking, though, we’d consider two or more active nests an infestation. Individual rat nests are usually made up of six to eight rats. So, doing the math, if you see more than 9 rats at once, you’re probably looking at 2 or more nests, which would qualify as an infestation by all the metrics we’ve come across.

Signs of a Rat infestation

At a certain point, a rat infested house will be obvious. Given enough time, rats can completely take over a home. Fortunately, it takes a while for a rat infestation to become that extreme, and homeowners have plenty of opportunities to identify the problem before it gets to that point.
Here’s five things to watch out for when you’re searching for signs of a rat infestation in your house:

  1. Rat Droppings

One of the most common early signs of a rat infested home is the presence of droppings. Rat poop looks like small, black capsules about the size of a grain of rice. Look for it on countertops, in cupboards, and in dark corners of your home.

  1. Gnaw Markings

Rats will chew through just about anything to get inside shelter and to access food. Gnawed up areas on wood and other surfaces are often found near nesting sites and food sources.

  1. Disturbed Foodstuff

You also may see evidence of gnawing on pantry items like cereal, grains, bread or cookies. If you do, it’s best to discard any leftover food from those containers—they’ve probably been contaminated by the rats. 

  1. Chittering Sounds

Rats are good at staying out of sight. Sometimes homeowners hear evidence of them before they see it. Keep an ear out for sounds of movement, chewing, scratching and squealing behind walls, in basements and in attics, especially at night when rats are most active.

  1. An Actual Rat!

There’s no mistaking this one: if you see an actual rat—let alone multiple—you’re looking at a pretty good indication that there might be a rat nest nearby.

How to Get Rid of a Rat Infestation

If you think you’re dealing with a rat infestation—or even if you just want some peace of mind knowing your home is protected—the best thing to do is to call in professional pest control services (like from your local Terminix office). It’s important to leave getting rats out of the house to professionals, 

If you see rats in your home, don’t panic! Terminix has been keeping homeowners in the Southeast protected against rodents and other pests for over 75 years now. Plus, our service is backed up by the strongest guarantee in the industry: if the pests come back, then so will we.
Give us a call today to request your FREE inspection and make sure your family and home are safe from rats and rodents.

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