Evanston aldermen tonight will be told that despite — or perhaps because of — increased efforts to control the rat population in the city — complaints about rats have been steadily increasing over the past two years.

Assistant Health Director Carl Caneva in a report prepared for the aldermen says calls to the city’s 311 service complaining about rats have grown from 390 in 2013 to 1180 this year.

That reflects, he says, the city’s production of a heat map last year showing where the rat complaints were coming from and distribution of letters to residents encouraging them to call in complaints.

Caneva says the department is also producing newsletters for distribution in rat complaint hot-spot areas — with photos showing conditions in that area that provide food and shelter for the pests.

While some problems — like overflowing garbage cans — may be pretty obvious problems of neglect — others — like bird feeders that spill seed on the ground where rats can get at it — require “a more nuanced approach,” he says.

Aldermen tonight are scheduled to approve a $22,880 contract renewal with Rose Pest Solutions to provide rodent control services next year.

Caneva says that in 2016 the city plans to “pre-bait” with rat poison areas that have been hot spots in the past and do overnight treatment in areas where a high volume of rats are observed.

He also plans to continue community engagement efforts with “rodent walks” for neighbors to identify problem areas and conditions.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Same Story Different Day

    Obviously the rat control procedures the city is using AREN'T working. WHy keep renewing the Pest control isn't of coming up with a new plan???

    Once again I will mention you can walk down almost any alley in Evanston with multi family building or small businesses and find garbage laying next to the cans rather  than in the cans. Walk around  lots of city blocks and find residents think fast food bags belong in the street.and not in garbabge container 10 feet away.

    It appears the garbage cans placed in the parks are only empited when someone calls 311. A few weeks ago  I called about the cans in two parks with a total of 4 or 5 cans all overflowing.

    Are the whiners actually seeing rats or tacoon,skunks or squirrels? 

  2. Rats in clean areas also

    I, for one, appreicate the efforts of Rose in trying to elimimate the problem. However, it is going on 3 months that they have been trying to kill the rats in my backyard. A major sweep in the alley, plus some demolition / construction last summer moved the rats into burrows in the yard. No feeders, no open garbage cans in the alley noting that would provide food.

    The bait keeps disappearing but we have only found one body on the surface.

    If there is a "nuclear" option of escalation, it would be useful to use. This is getting old.

    And yes, they are rats. No mistakes.


  3. Plenty of varmits in Evanston

    Yes, there are plenty of rats, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and squirrels in Evanston. I had a rat problem and learned that my composting bin and technique was attracting the problem. I called the City and they were responsive and Rose Pest put out a bait trap. I spent 3 weekends fully lining the bin with wire mesh. The bait trap was not that effective; the spring traps were. An icky job to clean up afterwards, but immensely satisfying.

    Rats have been plaguing humanity for thousands of years. I learned a lesson and support efforts to educate the public- the best solution.

    1. After a rat is 3 weeks old,

      After a rat is 3 weeks old, it can easily chew through wire mesh. Nice try, anyway.

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