Photo by Dermot Connolly
Jim Lowell, a resident of Waters Edge Estates in Worth, points out evidence of a rat burrow outside a neighbor’s house in the mobile home park at 7240 W. 107th St.
Several residents of a mobile home park in Worth said they are facing a rat problem with little or no help from management of the property or the village.
Jim Lowell, a 28-year resident of Waters Edge Estates, a mobile home park at 7240 W. 107th St., said the rat problem surfaced over the past year.
“I caught one in my house. I pay rent, and now we have to worry about rats? No one is doing anything about it,” said Lowell.
He said he brought his concerns to management but received no help from Zeman Homes, which owns Waters Edge and several other mobile home parks in the area, including nearby Southwest Estates, at 10401 Southwest Highway in Worth, and Rosebud, at 8800 S. Harlem Ave. in Bridgeview.
“They could at least put bait boxes out,” said Lowell.
A message left with the management office by a reporter his week was not returned.
Another Waters Edge resident, who would only give her name as Ruth, said rats have gotten into her unit by digging under it and chewing through floorboards in her trailer on the site. She showed two photos taken recently of two dead rats found on roads within the property.
Tammy Chasse, a neighbor of Lowell’s, said she is thankful that rats have not gotten inside her unit.
“That is probably because it is on a concrete slab,” she pointed out. “But when it it is warm at night, starts getting warm at night, I no longer sit outside to smoke. I stand on the steps, because rats have run right past me.”
She and Lowell pointed out several neighboring mobile homes where either residents moved out because of the rats, or are dealing with them now. During a walk through the park on Monday, numerous burrows, evidently made by rats, could be seen beside several mobile homes. A couple of spring-loaded rat traps were also seen outside one house, but Lowell said they mustn’t have been set right because the rats “just ate the peanut butter and left.”
Lowell said rats seemed to have become more prevalent in the mobile home park after an addition was built on a restaurant beside the park on Harlem Avenue about a year ago.
“Maybe they disturbed something. There also used to see a lot of stray cats around here. But they are gone. Maybe the rats chased them,” said Lowell.
“Rats have been a huge problem in the entire area for the past 2.5 years,” agreed Worth Mayor Mary Werner.
She said when the issue came to a head in neighboring Chicago Ridge about two years ago, both communities took similar steps to curtail the rats. This included hiring Guardian Pest Control to bait traps on public property
She said a couple of Waters Edge resident have come to Village Hall seeking help with the rats.
“I feel bad for them. All we can do is suggest ways to deal with it. We can’t do much there because it is private property,” said the mayor.
She said Waters Edge residents who sought help from the village were provided with pamphlets with information from the Illinois Department of Public Health about how to keep the rat population down. The same pamphlets were included in all 2,800 water bills mailed to village residents with their water bills.
“We got involved. We’ve tried to be proactive. But everyone has to help with this,” said the mayor, citing the importance of eliminating food sources, and the feeding of wildlife. This includes removing bird feeders, because rats eat the scattered food. Dog feces also should be picked up daily she said, because rats eat that too.
“Fruit dropping from trees shouldn’t be left on the ground, and vegetable gardens are like a smorgasbord for rats,” said the mayor.
She said residents with piles of brush or other debris on their property have been given warning citations because rats use them as shelter.
“Rats seem to be able to chew through almost anything except steel wool,” said the mayor, suggesting that residents place steel wool in rat burrows to prevent them from being used.