The Most Vermin-Infested American Cities

By Patrick Clark | January 17, 2017

The household critters that lurk behind radiators and under shower drains are a nuisance for lay people, and an impossible math problem for public health researchers and pest control companies: How many rats live in New York? Cockroaches in New Orleans? Since the U.S. Census can’t talk to the creatures to get a head count, the government does the next best thing: It asks homeowners and renters.

Every two years, the government statistical agency conducts the American Housing Survey (AHS) to paint a picture of the country’s residential stock. The online survey asks respondents about the homes they live in—how homeowners financed their abodes, the public subsidies renters enjoy, and an array of other information, including whether they think their neighborhood is safe, or whether their home is musty.

Also, whether they have seen evidence of cockroaches, rats, and mice.

Forty-one percent of New Orleans households reported roaches in 2015, according to Bloomberg’s compilation of AHS data, the highest of the 25 metropolitan areas broken out in this year’s survey. Philadelphians had the most rats and mice, with 18 percent of households reporting rodents. New York was the double-fisted king of creepy critters, with 16 percent of households reporting roaches and 15 percent reporting rodents—the only city to reach double-digits for both types of vermin. (To fully appreciate the size of the Big Apple’s pest population, it’s necessary to consider the numbers in aggregate: Some 1.1 million households saw evidence of cockroaches in 2015; 1.1 million saw mice or rats.)

Pest control was one of the early achievements of human civilization, said John Kane, an entomologist at Orkin, an Atlanta-based pest control company, but the long-term success of the project has been mixed. There was that time in the 14th century when the bubonic plague—transmitted by fleas that traveled on the backs of rats—wiped out a third of Europe’s human population. In modern times, Kane said, rodents are responsible for a huge amount of food waste, while the saliva, feces, and shed body parts of common cockroaches can trigger asthma and allergies.

Better data on pest populations can help exterminators launch targeted strikes, said Kane, limiting the amount of poison they release into the environment, and reducing the risk that the vermin build up resistance.

Roaches, as suggested by the charts above, are more common in warmer, wetter climates; rodents seem more likely to darken doors in older cities and colder ones. The data show that Miami was 6 percent more roach-infested in 2015 than in 2013 and that rodent sightings in Washington fell by 20 percent. (In that town, the rats have a way of finding their way back.)

The AHS doesn’t break out data for the same cities every year, but repeated nine cities in 2015. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington showed declining incidences for roaches and rodents; Chicago, Detroit, and Miami reported mixed results. Houston had 11 percent more roaches and 12 percent more mice and rats.

That leaves plenty of work for the pest control industry, which supported 24,000 U.S. pest control businesses and generated $12.3 billion in revenue last year, according to the research firm IBISWorld. (Two publicly traded companies—Rollins, which owns Orkin, and the ServiceMaster Company, based in Memphis, Tenn.—combine for 22 percent of sales.)

Vermin, meanwhile, appear to be the great economic equalizer. In Atlanta and New Orleans, households earning more than $120,000 a year were more likely to report cockroaches than less affluent households were. And in nine out of 25 cities included in the survey, those wealthier houses were more likely to report rats and mice.

“It’s not just the neighborhoods with broken windows,” said Kane. “I’ve been in mansions that were filled with rodent droppings in the attic.”

Design: Steph Davidson and James Singleton
Editor: Francesca Levy
Photo: Getty Images


Some people think that winter pests don’t exist in NW Arkansas but they most certainly do, and infestations are no joking matter! It is much easier to prevent a pest problem than to face one head on. Wintertime attracts termites, stink bugs, roaches and other crawling critters into your home through the cracks and crevices in your walls, chimneys and other entryways unless you take proper preventive precautions.

Common Winter Pests & Their Destructive Qualities

Pests target the warmth in your home as a safe and appealing place to survive the winter. Here’s a list of destructive qualities of pests that you can avoid altogether this winter through prevention:

Physical damage to the structure of your home and personal belongings
Contamination of walls and surfaces
Infestation of food products
Adverse effects to your health by spreading germs and irritating allergies
Disruption to your comfort and sense of well-being
Spiders, mice, roaches, termites and more are some examples of the critters you could find in your family room, garage and basement so best practice is to take action and prevent the problem before it starts.

What to Do for Winter Pest Issues

To safeguard your home from pests this winter, here are some pest control and prevention tips:

  1. Seal up cracks in the walls, ceilings and flooring when first cold hits
  2. Block entryways, fix window screens and chimney screens
  3. Maintain a clean yard free of debris
  4. Avoid leaving standing water or damp spots
  5. Clean up potential nesting areas and remove cobwebs

If you find unwanted critters like ants, roaches or mice have already entered your home to escape the cold, call a pest management company like NWA Ladybug Pest Control who can end the infestation promptly and manage further prevention. Don’t let anything bug you this winter, call an expert at NWA Ladybug Pest Control to handle all your pest control needs.


  1. Where do bugs go in the Winter?
  2. What does “EcoFriendly” really mean?
  3. Pest Control: A Guide for Homeowners

Oh, I know, you are seeing those pesky web worms back all over NW Arkansas. I am getting calls almost every day.


Counter intuitive isn’t it since you are just now starting to see them. But you should have prepared for these little buggers long before now.

Webworm Treatment: Tips For Controlling Webworms


Many people wonder what to do about webworms. When controlling fall webworms, it’s useful to analyze what exactly they are. Webworms, or Hyphantria cunea, usually appear on trees in the fall (while tent worms[1] appear in spring), causing unsightly nests and severe leaf damage. Let’s learn more about fall webworm control.

Fall Webworm Info

Webworms are caterpillars[2] that weave loose webbing around the tree’s foliage whilst munching on leaves, resulting in plant stress and leaf loss. This larval “nest” may cover single leaves or leaf clusters, but more often entire branches covering several feet across.

Webworm treatment options have to do with the life cycle of the critter. Webworms overwinter as pupae in cocoons found in the bark of the tree or amongst leaf litter. In the spring, adults emerge and deposit eggs, often creating large numbers of these caterpillar laden webs in a single tree. These caterpillars may go through as many as eleven growth stages (instars) before leaving the web to pupate and multiple generations occur per year.

The webworm caterpillar is about an inch long with a black to reddish head and light yellow to greenish body with a mottled stripe of two rows of black tubercles and tufts of long whitish hairs. Adults appear as white moths with dark spots on the wings.

Tips for Controlling Fall Webworms

What to do about webworms? There are several schools of thought on the best way to kill webworms. Fall webworm control runs the gamut from insecticides to burning the nests. Yes, webworm treatment may extend to the lengths of burning the nests, but read on.

Controlling fall webworms may be difficult due to their sheer large numbers and the variety of trees which they attack. Damage to such cultivars of hickory[3], mulberry[4], oak, pecan[5], poplar, redbud[6], sweet gum, willow[7] and other ornamental, fruit and nut trees may require a specific webworm treatment as the best way to kill webworms.

What to Do About Webworms

A webworm treatment for control of fall webworms that is highly recommended is the use of dormant oil. The best way to kill webworms with dormant oil is in the early spring while the tree is dormant. Dormant oil is preferable due to its low toxicity and easy availability; any local garden supply store will have it. Dormant oil attacks and kills the overwintering eggs.

The control of fall webworms also includes the more toxic varieties of insecticides, such as Sevin or Malathion. Sevin is a webworm treatment which kills the webworms once they are outside of the nest. Malathion works in much the same manner; however, it will leave a residue on the tree’s foliage. Orthene is also an option for fall webworm control.

And last but certainly not the least dramatic method, is to burn them out. Some folk’s utilize a propane torch attached to a long pole and burn out the webs. I can name a couple of sound reasons for the insanity of this method of fall webworm control. Controlling fall webworms via this route is dangerous due to the flaming webs one must dodge, the probability of making a conflagration of the entire tree and not least, the difficulty in hanging onto a stepladder with a flaming 20 foot pole! However, to each his own.

The safest and most effective method of what to do about webworms is as follows: Prune the tree in the spring and spray with a lime-sulfur and dormant oil spray. As buds begin to break, follow up your webworm treatment by spraying Sevin or Malathion and repeat in 10 days. Also, make sure to clean up any leaf debris to remove overwintering pupation populations.


  1. Mosquito Facts: Mosquito Lesson 101
  2. How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
  3. Fall Webworms in NWA



This is an Aedes albopictus female mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human host.

This is an Aedes albopictus female mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human host.


It’s the beginning of mosquito season and time to start treatments to prevent populations from getting heavy and ruining your outdoor enjoyment. NWA Ladybug Pest Control. provides a safe, comprehensive mosquito management program that targets the adult mosquitoes and their larvae. We also provide information on mosquitoes and ways to help further prevent the chances of getting bitten. Below are some answers to our most frequently asked questions about mosquitoes:



What do we need to know about Zika in the US?

The mosquito species capable of spreading Zika are common in the southeastern states. This includes the Yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). There have been several cases of Zika reported in the U.S. but so far these cases involved the person traveling overseas. For the most up-to-date information on Zika, visit the Center for Disease Control website.

What is the mosquito life cycle?

Adult female mosquitoes lay eggs in or near stagnate water, or in low-lying areas that may eventually flood. The larvae (called “wrigglers” because they are the little wriggly things you see in small pools of water) hatch and develop underwater. They feed on organic material in the water and eventually pupate (go into the pupa stage). The pupae are sometimes called “tumblers” because they tumble around just under the surface of the water. The adult mosquitoes develop inside the pupae and emerge on the surface of the water and fly away but stay close to the breeding sites. This whole process can take less than a week to complete. Adult males and females mainly feed on nectar from flowers, but females need to obtain a blood meal to produce her eggs.

How are mosquito bites different for a human vs. other animals like pets?

Although some animals have thick fur and hair, mosquitoes still can bite them in areas that are not protected by hair, such as the nose, ears, stomach and other areas. And similar to you, your cat or dog also finds mosquito bites very itchy and the bitten area may swell and get an infection if it is constantly scratched and not treated properly. Mosquitoes can also transmit dog heartworm.

Consult your veterinarian for ways to treat mosquito bites on your pets and for medication to prevent contracting heartworm.


NWA Ladybug Pest Control provides this FREE website to keep you informed on pests in your area. You can help keep this free site alive simply by sharing and leaving your comments. Thanks



  1. How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
  2. How to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets
  3. Risks of Pesticides