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America's Most Infested Places

America's Most Infested Places
Rats: New York, New York

Rats: New York, New York

These rodents are resourceful creatures, thriving in cities the world over. They can carry pathogens and transfer them to other species -- remember that whole Black Death thing?


While no rat census has ever been conducted, New York did head a list of American cities most at risk for an infestation of these critters according to the Rodent Risk Assessment report conducted by pest management experts Dale E. Kaukeinen and Bruce A. Colvin in 2007. The report takes a number of criteria into consideration, including population density and climate. Actual estimates on the amount of rats in the city vary widely, from the optimistic 256,000 range to the more troubling figure of almost 100 million. Houston was ranked second and Boston came in third.


Killer Bees: Hidalgo, Texas
Killer Bees: Hidalgo, Texas

Killer Bees: Hidalgo, Texas

An Africanized honey bee (a.k.a. killer bee) is on the left, with its friendlier counterpart, the European honey bee on the right. Killer bees are aggressive and like to sting in swarms, often leading to painful and sometimes fatal results.


Characterized by their aggressiveness and tendency to sting in numbers, Africanized Honey Bees are more commonly known by their sinister nickname, "killer bees." They made their U.S. debut in Hidalgo, Texas in 1990 amidst the buzz of paranoid news coverage. The city of Hidalgo decided to embrace the publicity, adopting the nickname of "Killer Bee Capital of the World." Whether Hidalgo does in fact have the highest population of killer bees in the U.S. is unknown, but we'll give them props for taking credit for it.


Allergens: Dayton, Ohio
Allergens: Dayton, Ohio

Allergens: Dayton, Ohio

Seasonal allergies are the bane of allergy-sufferers all over the globe. And when they visit cities with high pollen counts, life becomes terribly uncomfortable.


For allergy-sufferers, walking around a place with a high pollen count can be more than a little uncomfortable. Every year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) ranks the toughest places to live in the country for people with seasonal allergies. Their rankings are based on a number of factors, including pollen scores and the number of allergy medications used per patient. This year, Dayton, Ohio earns the distinction as America's Allergy Capital. Wichita, Kansas placed second while Louisville, Kentucky came in third.


Sharks: New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
Sharks: New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Sharks: New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

While many people fear sharks, the actual instances of shark attacks are relatively very rare. In fact, in most places, you are far more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by a shark. However, if you want to improve your chances, you could always take a trip to New Smyrna Beach.


An entire generation of Americans was semi-traumatized by watching Jaws at a young age, resulting in a deep-seated fear of sharks. In reality, shark attacks are extremely rare when compared to the number of people that venture into the waters. But incidents do occur from time to time, and according to the International Shark Attack File, New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County, Florida is our shark attack capital, with 219 documented attacks since 1882.


Bedbugs: New York, NY
Bedbugs: New York, NY

Bedbugs: New York, NY

Bedbug infestations have been known to produce psychological effects for those that have the misfortune of dealing with them. Anxiety, embarrassment and jumpiness are some common symptoms.


Insect parasites that like to feed on human blood hiding in your home? Sounds like a bad sci-fi movie, but bedbugs are all too real. And they like hanging out in the Big Apple. According to a recent report from Terminix, New York is the most bedbug-infested city in the country, with Philadelphia as the runner-up. Honorable mention goes to Ohio for receiving the title of most bedbug-infested state.


Mostly active at night, bedbugs often feed on you while you're asleep, leaving you to wake up with rashes or other symptoms. Getting rid of them is no easy task -- consult a pest control professional.


Nutria: Louisiana
Nutria: Louisiana

Nutria: Louisiana

These rodents are big, like to hang out in water and have a tendency to wreak some havoc in their surrounding environment. They wolf down river plants and do some serious burrowing, speeding up coastal erosion in the process.


These large, semi-aquatic rodents know how to wreak some havoc. Nutria (Myocastor coypus) do a lot of damage with their burrowing and feeding habits, devouring copious amounts of river plants and contributing to coastal erosion in the process. In particular, they have been a destructive force in places like the coastal wetlands of Louisiana, even doing considerable damage to levees that are meant to help keep the encroaching Gulf of Mexico from swallowing Louisiana's coast. The problem has gotten so bad that the State of Louisiana has instituted the Nutria Control Program, encouraging trapping and hunting of these pests. For those looking for an alternative career path, the Nutria Control Program will pay $5 per nutria tail…


Bugs: Florida

Having bugs in your home should be cause for concern, beyond the usual hygienic and health reasons. Cockroaches can lead to allergic reactions in humans, while termites alone cause $5 billion in property damage every year.


In a recent national survey among homeowners conducted by Infogroup, Florida received the unwelcome distinction of being the state with the worst bug problems. Cockroaches, ants, termites -- they're all very comfortable residents of the Sunshine State. Louisiana placed second on the survey, while Texas came in third. When faced with a potential bug infestation problem at your home, it is recommended that you call a pest control professional for assistance rather than going for the do-it-yourself approach.

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