Rat Control Program
The Village of Skokie Health and Human Services Department provides residents with a rat control program which includes Village staff surveying properties for rat activity, treatment of rat burrows and informing property owners of preventive measures. To rid our community of rats, the Village of Skokie requests the cooperation of every resident. For more information please review our guide Preventing Rats in Skokie (PDF).
What does a rat look like?
Rats are husky, brownish rodents that weigh 11 ounces and are 13 to 18 inches long with a 6 to 8 ½ -inch tail. Their fur is coarse and mostly brown with scattered black on the upper surfaces. The underside is typically grey to yellowish white.
What does rat activity look like?
Rats live in areas where there is food, water and shelter. Rat activity can be controlled and prevented by bagging garbage securely in containers, picking up birdseed, removing dog waste and maintaining property.
Evidence of Rat Activity:
- Rat droppings or tracks
- Burrows (holes in ground)
- Gnaw or rub marks
If you see rats, or evidence of rats, on your property please notify the Skokie Health and Human Services Department immediately by completing the Rat Control Release of Liability Form. Provide the location of the rat activity in the description section of the form.
Completing the Release of Liability form gives Skokie Environmental Health staff permission to survey your property and begin rat baiting activities if rat activity is observed (Property owner does not need to be home during survey).
Environmental Health staff will then refer your property to the Village’s Pest Control Contractor for weekly service which typically occurs on Thursday or Friday.
After two weeks with no rodent activity at burrows or bait stations, the case will be closed. Village door hangers will be left on the property to provide status updates.
Skokie’s Municipal Rat Management Program
The Village of Skokie’s Environmental Division is responsible for coordinating the Villages rat management program. Skokie property owners observing rats should notify the Village via an online reporting tool. In response, Village staff will survey properties and if rat activity is found properties will be treated with bait until the rats are eliminated.
Village staff are trained and have a professional understanding of rodent biology, integrated pest management practices, rodent control devices and the characteristics and risks associated with rodenticides. Such knowledge is critical not only to achieving successful control but also to providing the public, proactively and on demand, with information on the Village’s rat control program.
While there are various rat control options available for controlling rats, the Village and their licensed pest control contractor have determined that baiting properties is the most efficient and timely way to eliminate large numbers of rats.
The following summarizes the different rat control options available to control rats:
Sanitation: Rodent control begins with sanitation. While rodents find warmth and shelter inside structures, food is their first reason for living in and around structures. Thus, every effort should be made by property owners to eliminate rodent food sources in and around structures. Foods should be kept in sealed containers made of materials difficult for rodents to chew through, such as metal and hard plastic. Trash also should be stored in tightly sealed containers including trash cans and dumpsters with lids. Residents are discouraged from feeding birds and wildlife.
Exclusion: As a rule, anything that will make a structure less hospitable to rodents should be considered important. Along with sanitation, exclusion is the first line of defense against rodents. As rats can enter structures through ½-inch holes and mice through ¼-inch holes, every effort should be made to seal these exterior entry points. This can be done with ¼-inch mesh metal screen or hardware cloth, metal “wool” products, concrete mixes or durable sealants for smaller openings. Often, rodents enter structures through doors. Doors should be kept closed, should clear floors by no more than ¼-inch and have metal kick plates attached to prevent rodents from gnawing on them. Exterior vents and floor drains should be covered with screens or grates sufficient to exclude rodents, and spaces around drains should be filled with cement.
Baiting: The Village of Skokie’s primary means to eliminate rats from properties is using EPA registered and approved general-use rodenticides (baits). Baiting is the most efficient and timely way to eliminate large numbers of rodents. The main disadvantage is that rodenticides are toxicants and must be used carefully to avoid harming people, pets and other non-target animals. The Village of Skokie has knowledgeable staff, including staff that have their Illinois State Structural Pest Control Technician licenses. Staff and the Village’s licensed pest control contractor carefully follow all rodenticide product labels and directions, to ensure rodenticide is used in the safest possible way to protect non-target pets, wildlife and humans.
When rat burrows are found, they are baited by the Village. If burrows cannot be found the Village and their contractor may use tamper-resistant bait stations which are designed to prevent children and non-target animals from accessing bait.
Trapping: While the Village has determined that baiting is the most effective method of rat abatement, the Village will use trapping, but only when baiting is not considered a viable option by itself.
Contraceptives/Fertility Products: Contraceptive rat control products are an EPA Registered product in liquid form that renders rats infertile. The product is not 100% effective on all rats, and it is recommended that fertility products be used along with baiting and/or trapping to be as effective as possible. Contraceptive products are much more expensive than traditional baits and must be used for many months at a single site to be effective. In addition, the Village isn’t aware of any local licensed pest control contractors that are providing services that include the use of a fertility product. At this point and time, the Village has determined that using this type of rat control is not a viable option for the Village, however the Village will continue to research the use of this product and whether it’s use would benefit the Village’s rat control efforts.
Dry Ice: Dry ice is a relatively recent product available for use to reduce rat populations. The EPA has required that companies distributing dry ice for rat abatement get their products registered with the EPA. The registration provides licensed pest control companies with another tool for use in efforts to control rats. Dry ice is placed inside burrows will kill the rats through suffocation and complements other registered lethal baiting and contraceptive control products and offers unique characteristics that applicators may find useful on a case-by-case basis.
Environmental Health Division
5127 Oakton Street
Skokie, IL 60077