Chicago Tops Rat List Despite Increased Control Efforts
If you thought Chicago had a rat problem, you are correct.
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that pest control company Orkin named the Windy City the “rattiest” big city in the United States.
The rankings are based on the number of rodent treatments done by the company in the city in 2013. Chicago came in just ahead of Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York and San Francisco.
“Rodents depend on humans and their resources to survive, so unless residents and city officials take proactive steps to prevent rodents, infestations can easily get out of hand,” says Ron Harrison, Orkin technical services director.
Increased rat control efforts
Despite landing in the top spot, Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation last year reported a 15 percent decrease in rat control service requests to its 311 city services line.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced what he called an aggressive rodent control effort in 2012 that included a 30 percent increase in baiting and monitoring jobs in thousands of the city’s alleys and other public spaces. The mayor may continue his rat control efforts into next year, as the latest proposed city budget calls for additional funding, according to reports.
How to help control the rat population
To help the city combat the rodent population, residents are asked to call the city’s 311 service to report rat sightings. The city also encourages residents to take the following steps around their homes:
- Contain the trash — Residents and business owners are asked to keep all trash inside a tightly secured container.
- Weed the garden — Overgrown fruit and vegetable gardens provide not only perfect nesting areas for rats, but also a reliable food source.
- Maintain the bird feeder — Residents with bird feeders or other outdoor pet food dishes are asked to monitor the areas closely for signs of rat infestation.
- Pick up animal waste — Rats feast on animal feces and it can provide a reliable source of food in otherwise well-kept areas.