Rodent abatement services can be obtained by calling 311 or the 47th Ward office. Crews are dispatched to investigate every reported sighting and can provide guidance on rat-proofing private property. Many of the rodent problems that are reported are highly preventable. In addition to residents containing their garbage, dog owners need to clean up after their pets and make sure waste materials are disposed of in sealed containers. This waste can be a staple in the urban rat’s diet. If dog owners fail to clean up after their pets, they are essentially attracting and helping to sustain rats.

The Department of Streets and Sanitation needs the cooperation of businesses and residents to keep alleys rat free. You can help by making sure your trash is properly contained. Exposed garbage is the primary reason rodents proliferate. When garbage carts are securely closed it helps to cut off the food supply and then rats will eat the poison that the Bureau of Rodent Control places in rat burrows.

If you see a rat or notice conditions that may contribute to rodent activity, please call 311 or contact our office.

Target RATS. You may have seen the recent media coverage on the increased reports of rats in Chicago (click here). My office has received, as have many other wards, numerous complaints about rat sightings especially in the alleys. My constituent services team immediately enters rat sighting locations into the 311 city service request system. Although the city does lace alleys with rat poison on a regular basis, rats still have their picking of food scraps from the rows and rows of garbage carts, dumpsters and oftentimes open bags or spillover near these containers. This is the single reason rats exist in our cities–abundant food supply. And with about 590 blocks in the 47th Ward the City doesn’t have the resources to monitor these alleys alone. Everyone of us can help reduce the rat population by keeping an eye on these trash receptacles in our alleys.

We ask that you:

  • Do not overfill your trash receptacles such that the lid does not seal close.
  • Try to put food scraps in separate smaller bags and place at the bottom of your containers. If possible, save non-food trash till next collection
    if it’ll overfill the receptacle.
  • Never put a bag with food scraps or food wrappers outside a trash receptacle–rats will chew right into this for a quick meal.
  • If you have a blue cart, put as much clean (without food soiling) paper and plastics (quick rinse if not completely empty) in there which will
    save room in the black carts for food scraps and non-recycleables.
  • If your cart has any type of hole, chewed-off area or a missing/defective lid, report
    this to 311 immediately.
  • Encourage your neighbors to follow these guidelines.
  • If you see a regular occurrence of overfilled receptacles or bags left by them that containing food scraps/wrappers in the ward, report it to my
    office. It doesn’t matter if the receptacles are for houses, apartment buildings, businesses or restaurants.
  • If you, your neighbors, your block or your block club wishes to systematically survey the receptacles in your and/or nearby alleys, let my
    office know and we’ll give you a checksheet form to use.

For home gardens and landscaped areas, you may consider laying down “hardware cloth” or chicken wire in garden beds, large planters and other areas where rats may burrow. Rats hate the feel of metal and don’t burrow through it.

My staffperson Dara Salk has taken the initiative to bring the Tree House feral cat program to interested residents in the ward. This program discourages rats from settling in a particular area (info here). Let us know of any other ideas you have to help curb the rat population in our neighborhoods.