In the eternal battle of urban jungles, it’s not just skyscrapers and bright lights that cities vie for supremacy in. According to a recent report by pest control company Orkin, New York City has lost its crown as the ‘rattiest’ city in the nation for 2023. This title has been swept away by the windy city, Chicago, for the ninth consecutive year. Los Angeles, not to be outdone, has also pushed NYC down the ladder, claiming the second spot. Let’s delve into the rodent race and see how the Big Apple is dealing with its unexpected slip.

Despite New York’s real-life rat tours, an unofficial Pizza Rat mascot, a designated rat czar, and a mayor who famously despises these pesky rodents, the city has slipped to number three on Orkin’s annual “Top 50 Rattiest Cities” list. The rankings are determined based on the number of new rodent treatments performed between September 2022 and August 2023.

Last year, New York City was the runner-up in the rat race, but this year, it finds itself behind both Los Angeles and Chicago. Washington, D.C., and San Francisco round out the top five, showcasing that rats aren’t picky about which metropolis they infest.

The Orkin list serves as a barometer of the demand for extermination and pest control services across the United States. It’s not a headcount of every rat roaming the streets but rather an indicator of how many residents and businesses are in need of rat removal services.

Mayor Eric Adams, who is no fan of rats, has waged a relentless war against the whiskered invaders since taking office. He even went as far as hiring a designated “rat czar” with an annual salary of $155,000 to lead the charge against the rat population.

In June, rodent complaints across the five boroughs dropped by 15% compared to the same period in the previous year. However, experts are cautious, pointing out that it’s challenging to determine whether the rat population is truly shrinking or if New Yorkers have simply given up complaining about their furry neighbors.

In an effort to further tackle the city’s rodent problem, Mayor Adams introduced new rules requiring homeowners to invest at least $50 in city-selected trash bins, aiming to standardize and rat-proof the containers. This initiative follows the earlier mandate that forced restaurants, bodegas, and grocery stores to use garbage containers with lids, which has already led to a 20% reduction in 311 complaints related to rats.

Despite his relentless war on rats, Mayor Adams faced a dose of irony when he was fined $300 in February. City officials discovered that conditions at his rental property in Bedford-Stuyvesant encouraged “the nesting of rats.” This included the mayor’s failure to use rodent-proof bins for recycling, a violation that did not go unnoticed.

In the rat race of 2023, it’s clear that New York City is facing stiff competition from its West Coast and Midwest counterparts. The battle to claim the title of the “rattiest” city is fierce, and as Mayor Adams continues his crusade against these pesky rodents, it remains to be seen whether the Big Apple can regain its former glory or if Chicago and Los Angeles will maintain their rodent reign for yet another year.

In the end, as urban dwellers, we must all unite in our war against the relentless rat invasion, regardless of which city we call home. After all, a rat-free city is a happier and healthier one, and it’s a battle that no metropolis can afford to lose.