Evanston's health director told aldermen Monday night that there's been an upsurge in citizen complaints about rats this year.
Evonda Thomas Smith showed a map that indicated the biggest hot spot for rat complaints during the first six months of this year in a several-block area south of Main Street and east of Dodge Avenue,
She said the city has hired an extermination contractor and has its environmental health inspectors monitoring the situation and educating residents about rat control techniques.
She said overflowing garbage cans provide a ready food supply for rates, and overgrown vegetation provides shelter for them.
She said the city offers additional information about how to reduce rat problems online.
The rat hot spot is split between the 2nd and 9th Wards.
Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, said he used to complain about feral cats in his ward, but he's now decided they serve a useful purpose in reducing rodent problems.
Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, asked whether paved or unpaved alleys are more likely to have rate problems. Thomas Smith said she didn't believe that made any difference.
The full map showing the distribution of rat complaints across Evanston from January through June.