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.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. sewer/water fix up also affecting this

    The giant water main/sewer lining project on Washington is making this worse by disrupting their nests.  More extermination please.  Also, take note since other areas in Evanston will get this water project, need to budget for extermination along with it. 

    1. The Map Shows Poor City Code Enforcement

      Actually the center of the "red zone' is not at Washington–but a block over.  Neighbors in that are have been complaining for YEARS to the city to require the owner clean up a problematic property that is at the map's epicenter.  

      They would occasionally write them a ticket, but the property didn't get cleaned up until a new owner bought it.  

      What it shows is that the city is ineffective in dealing with perennial code violators.  This is a serious problem which seems to escape the council.

      1. The upside is that the owners

        The upside is that the owners look like they are finally cleaning up said propoerty… Four dumpsters later! I have lived two blocks south of the property for 15+ years and I have never seen a rat. neighbors to the north tell me that they are everywhere… ever since the owners of said property began to purge the property. I think we will see that once this house is vacated, the rat problem will disapear. I have to admit that it is facinating that a single houshold can upset an extended neighborhood…

        1. good to know!

          Well, this is good to know!  We never saw a mouse or rat until a couple weeks ago when the water project started (on washington).  But if the new owner is cleaning up and disrupting the nests, that will cause them to scatter as well.  Whatever the cause I will be thrilled when every rat is DEAD DEAD DEAD!  I don't care for rodents.  

  2. Evanston Rats

    I know it's not near the epicenter, but I did see two big fat rats frolicing in the shrubbery near the street at Church and Orrington a week or so ago. 

    1. Flower boxes

      I believe there was a report a few months back about Rats in the Flowers in that area. They were going hire a extermination contractor  to get rid of them. Wonder if they are using same one for these sightings.

  3. After reading some of the

    After reading some of the other reports, I'm thinking that the red spot on the map should be directly over city hall.

  4. Main and Dodge

    Hi Neighbors

    Hate to tell you this but another culprit is the garbage at the strip mall that has two restaurants and a 7 Eleven.  The garbage is always overflowing and spilled over on the ground.  It is an all you can eat buffet for the rodents.  We have been fighting with the city on this for over a year.  And they still have yet to ticket the owner of the strip mall!!!!   BTW: There is a homeowner that has a large rat nest under his deck — which happens to be two doors down from the overflowing garbage.  

    I am finding that reporting issues to the city is beginning to be a joke.  

    1. Main-Dodge Owner Going to Court 8/21

      I have seen rats near that location, on Washington by the fire station to be precise.

      I know it is no consolation, but the city actually has JUST gotten around to ticketing the owner of the property (Realty and Mortgage Company) and there is going to be a hearing on Thursday, 21 August 2014 relating to their violation in city council chambers:


      It really is incredible that this will have been the first time they have been cited.

      The Number One thing the city could do to improve livability and perhaps raise money for the city would be to get serious about code enforcement.

      I see absolutely nobody on council who is interested in this, however.

  5. Main Street Rats & Raccoons!!

    I agree with this epicenter report, I sent complaints to the City numerous time for the Rats on Main Street After numerous complaints the City finally put out traps to prove if rats were present, but never did any externmination or fined the landlords. This was so frustrating, I kept reporting it and felt like the City didn't care. In addition to rats, it also drew racoons!! I hope that this new externmination effort makes a difference. Rats are disgusting! 

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