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Summertime pests: rodents

  • Terrah Cherry from Streets and Sanitation posts a sign about rats in an alley on the south side of Chicago as she answers calls from neighbors about rat problems in Chicago.
Terrah Cherry from Streets and Sanitation posts a sign about rats in an alley… (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune )
July 02, 2013|Leonor Vivanco, @lvivanco | RedEye

Summertime in Chicago lures everyone outside, including the rats.

"When you have warmer weather, there tends to be more food sources for rodents," said Anne Sheahan, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Streets and Sanitation.

That's because people host more parties and more people eat out so there's more garbage in dumpsters. And pets are running around in yards, so their food dishes may be outside too.

If there are other food sources such as overflowing dumpsters and improperly contained grease traps around restaurants, rats won't eat the rodenticide.

The city reminded residents, businesses and pet owners to make sure trash is contained in a garbage can, maintain fruit and vegetable gardens, eliminate or maintain outdoor pet food dishes, and clean up animal waste so they're not attracting or harboring rats.

So far at the year's halfway mark, requests for rodent control services have dropped by 15 percent from January through June 2013 compared to the same time period in 2012, according to a city-issued news release. During that time, city crews completed 30 percent more preventative inspections and baiting jobs.

Residents who see rats should contact 311 with the location of the sighting so crews can go out to check out the area, find the rodent nest and bait the burrow with rodenticide.

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