Adopting a furry friend during the pandemic was one way many people dealt with lockdowns, quarantines, and loneliness. But other far less welcomed creatures have made themselves at home in people’s houses and apartments, too.

Early in the pandemic, when droves of employees left office buildings and began to work from home, pests followed. As in other cities across the country, Philadelphia residents started seeing more rodents and roaches.

But even before the pandemic, the Philadelphia metropolitan area took the undesirable distinction among the 15 most populated areas as having the highest percentage of residents who spotted rodents in their homes during the last 12 months, according to 2019 Census Bureau housing data released this year. Its share of sightings was statistically tied with the Boston area.

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In the Philadelphia region, nearly 19% of housing units reported sightings of mice or rats, a higher share than the roughly 11% that reported sightings in the New York metro area. About 6% of Philadelphia-area housing units reported seeing roaches.

Nationally, about 11% of occupied housing units — about 14 million — reported seeing roaches in their homes during the last 12 months. Slightly more — nearly 12% — reported seeing mice or rats.

Rodent sightings are more common in homes in the Northeast, while roaches are more common in the South.

People who live within half a block of trash or abandoned buildings are more likely to report pests. So are people with lower incomes and who live in homes with structural defects and water leaks, according to the Census Bureau.

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Besides being unpleasant to live with, rats and mice can spread diseases to humans and roaches can trigger asthma.

Prevention is the best way to keep away pests. Keep food sealed and stored, dispose of garbage often and securely, and regularly clean your home, according to tips from Apartment Guide. Check your home for cracks and rot and repair them as soon as possible.