City to Redirect 10 New Crews to Help Tackle Rodents in Chicago

April 13, 2016

An Increase in Preventive Baiting, the Creation of a New Task Force and Public Education Provide Additional Tools to Combat the Issue

CHICAGO -- The Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) today announced that it is redirecting 10 new crews to the Bureau of Rodent Control to help tackle the issue of rodents in Chicago.  The new crews will work to increase productivity, eliminate the service backlog and ensure all requests are addressed within five days of receipt. 

"Historically, Rodent Control had been a complaint driven Bureau.  Under the leadership of Mayor Emanuel we have taken a much more proactive approach to fighting rodent.  Through inspections, baiting, sanitation and public education, the City works hard to tackle the issue.  And the additional crews will further enhance our efforts," said DSS Commissioner Charles L. Williams. 

The new crews are in addition to the five crews the City redirected to Rodent Control in 2015.  As a result of those expanded resources, DSS has been able to complete 75 percent more rodent abatements during the first quarter of this year over last year; increase preventive baiting by 80 percent; and begin working toward the goal of ensuring all requests are addressed within five days of receipt. 

Today, DSS also announced the creation of new Rodent Task Force.  The Task Force will be comprised of various city department and sister agencies that will work together to more strategically tackle the issue of rodents throughout Chicago.  The Task Force will implement coordinated abatements, enforce new construction pre-baiting and identify additional resources to assist high complaint areas. 

Public education is also another tool DSS will be using in 2016 to help combat rodents, and the outreach will focus on residents becoming a part of the solution.  The DSS Neighborhood Outreach Team will attend community meetings to provide tips to combat rodents; work with businesses to address overflowing dumpsters, junk piles and overgrown weeds; and providing information to residents on how they can help eliminate the food sources in the area. 

In 2015, the Department also began implementation of the "New Construction Site - Rodent Abatement Ordinance" that mandates a rodent abatement plan be maintained throughout the excavation process of any new construction within City limits.  These efforts will continue in 2016. 

"The City takes an aggressive approach to rodent control.  But we need residents to help.  Even one yard with a food source or hiding place can cause a problem for an entire block.  By working together to find and correct these food sources, we can be more successful in our efforts combats rodents said Williams. 

Tips residents can use to help eliminate food sources include: 

  • Keeping garbage contained within closed carts, bins or dumpsters
  • Cleaning up after pets and making sure waste is disposed in sealed containers
  • Not leaving uncovered pet food outdoors
  • Removing old tires, lumber or other debris piles
  • Weeding and throwing away rotting fruits and vegetables from gardens
  • Maintaining bird feeders

In addition to rodent abatement, the City of Chicago provides a variety of preventive services like replacing damaged garbage carts; demolishing dilapidated garages or sheds and attending community meetings to provide tips to combat rodents. 

For more information on rodent control services, call 311 or visit