Pest infested places

Hannah Norton

Feb 8, 2024

Dealing with a plague might sound like a disaster movie plot – but having vermin and pests in your home is unfortunately common, and it can be an incredible stress for any homeowner. From insect infestations to potentially dangerous animals like snakes and spiders, having a pest problem can affect your health – and even the price of your home.

Uncontrolled pest infestations can have a real detrimental impact to your house. As experts in home and contents insurance, we wanted to see which cities and states may be the biggest hotspots for pests.

We’ve looked at states across the USA and some of the biggest cities here in Australia to see which locations are the most affected. We compared 50 US states and Australian cities based on Google search data for different pests. Keep reading to discover which areas are the worst affected by various kinds of vermin.

U.S. Pest Hotspots

The number one city for pests in the USA might be better known for alligators and manatees than bugs and critters. But unfortunately, the state of Florida does have the dubious honour of coming in top for pest problems.

That’s thanks in large part to their high number of snakes, the highest in our ranking across the entire US, with 887 per 100,000 people. Florida also has the second-highest termite population with an average of 178 people per 100,000 needing to look for ways to deal with these wood-eating pests.

Our second state is all the way across the country, with Washington state. Up in the dense, tree-heavy region of the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find plenty of pests, with Washington having the second-highest rate of wasps plus an above-average number of ants and rats. Like Florida, you’ll also find plenty of snakes in Washington, with the third-highest rate in our ranking.

Following on from Washington, it turns out that the Big Apple might have a few worms of its own. New York state comes in third on our ranking, and perhaps it’s no surprise that the home of the viral ‘pizza rat’ meme has one of the highest rates of rodent infestations. In New York 139 residents per 100,000 are searching for rats to deal with their issues, the second highest on our ranking after neighbouring Massachusetts. New York also has the second-highest search volume for ants, and the third-highest for wasps.

Other cities that seem to be struggling with pest problems include Georgia and Virginia, in fourth and fifth place on our ranking respectively. Both states have a pretty high average search rate for pests across the board, especially when it comes to snakes and spiders.

In sixth, Texas comes near the top for both rats and spiders, while in seventh place Utah also has a similarly rough time of things, with a higher-than-average search volume for mosquitoes, snakes, and spiders across the state.

A notable mention has to go to California. California is famed for its wildlife, but we’re not sure if the Golden State would want to be known as the state with the highest search trends for fleas, mosquitoes, and termites!


Australia’s Pest Hotspots

So, we’ve taken a look at the US states with the worst pest problems – but looking closer to home, how do Australian cities stack up? Our country may be known globally as the home of critters you don’t want to tangle with, but which cities have the most critters?

In the number one spot, Brisbane residents have the worst time of things, with the highest search trends across ants, mosquitoes, rats, spiders, and termites – that’s an unfortunate number of creepy crawlies to contend with. In particular, the rate of rats in Brisbane is significantly higher than the next cities down on the scale, and according to search data from Ahrefs, at least 246 people per 100,000 on average are specifically searching for ‘Brisbane rats’ every single month in Australia.

Second on our ranking of unfortunately infested cities is Darwin. The Northern Territory is famed for its variety of snake species, and true to form, Darwin boasts the highest search volume for snakes in our list by quite a long shot, with search trends of 1,859 relating to snakes. But it’s not all doom and gloom. In better news for Darwin residents, the city has some of the lowest rates of fleas, mice, and wasps.

Coming in third is Sydney, which unfortunately boasts the highest trends for bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, and wasps. However, it’s worth mentioning that thanks to an industry-wide code from the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association in 2005, Australia has been largely free of serious bedbug infestations for years.1 To put it in perspective, the highest search volume in America for bedbugs is in Oklahoma, at 365 per 100,000 people, while Sydney’s score is 213.

Other ‘winners’ on our scale include Melbourne at number four in our ranking, with the highest search volume for mice in the country at 30 per 100,000. This follows on from a mouse plague in 2021 that saw mice numbers boom across New South Wales and Victoria, as well as other parts of Australia’s east coast.2

Next up we have Adelaide, which has the minor distinction of not having the highest search volume for any particular pest. However, the high average searches for many pests across the city overall mean that it takes the fifth spot on our ranking.

Worth mentioning as well is Perth, which has the most searches for locusts. The city has occasional plagues of these winged insects, especially in the early 1990s.

Is pest damage covered by home and contents insurance?

Protecting your home is always a concern, but you might not always be able to prepare for pests. Unfortunately, the vast majority of home and contents insurance policies don’t cover damage to your home or belongings caused by pests.

Compare the Market’s Executive General Manager of General Insurance, Adrian Taylor, explains.

“Pest infestations can be devastating, both emotionally and financially, but most home and contents policies exclude damage caused by insects, rodents, vermin and other animals”

“There is varying coverage for other animal related damage. Some policies may cover damage from pets, while others might cover damage from some wild animals such as birds, but not pets. However, rodents like rats and mice, insects, bugs and other vermin are usually excluded. Be sure to check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for details on what is and isn’t covered by your policy.”

Taylor notes that people should seek professional advice and expertise when it comes to clearing pests and protecting your home. Some things homeowners can do themselves include:

  • Seal gaps in the walls
  • Repair any damaged fly screens
  • Keep the home clean and tidy
  • Ensure food is stored securely
  • Wash bedding and clothing regularly


We ranked 50 US States & 25 Australian cities, based on how many pests are in each location. To do this, the average monthly Google search volume for 11 different pests in each location was gathered, for the period Dec 2022 – Nov 2023.

Once the data for the pests was collected, the values were then converted into a per 100,000 person basis. The values were then summed across all pests, to give the total number. The locations were then ranked from highest to lowest, based on this value.

The pests we looked at were as follows: Ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, locusts, mice, mosquitoes, rats, snakes, spiders, termites, and wasps.

All data is correct as of 19/12/23. The ranking data shown is a compilation of multiple data sources and may not be representative of real life. All data is accurate with regard to the sources provided.


  1. Industry Code of Best Practice for Bed Bug Management. Stephen Doggett, NSW Health, Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association. 2022.
  2. Stamping out mice plagues with breakthrough control. Adam Marshall, NSW Government. 2021.


  • USA population per state –
  • Australian population per city –
  • Search volume for pest keywords –