Approximately 60,000 homeowners in Illinois report nuisance wildlife damage to their homes and properties each year. Raccoons cause most of these complaints. Raccoons tear shingles, rip open roof vents, and damage eaves to gain entry to attics. Having raccoons in the attic for even a short time can result in permanent damage, including a lingering musty smell caused by their urine and feces. Once inside they move the insulation around creating comfy bedding and latrine areas where they deposit their droppings.

Landmark’s ABC Wildlife Certified Technicians

Landmark solves every wildlife issue from A through Z. When animals invade your home, yard, attic, or business, we make solving your wildlife issue as simple as A-B-C.

Knowledgeable Staff

Every one of Landmark’s State-certified wildlife technicians undergo extensive training before receiving their ABC Humane Wildlife Certification in humane wildlife control. Our courteous technicians will come to your home and solve any wildlife problem that is causing damage to your property or threatening the health and safety of your pets and family. You can rest easy knowing that Landmark’s ABC Humane Wildlife certified technicians have the training and expertise to be the best.

When it comes to protecting the health and safety of your family, pets, and property remember to always look for the ABC Humane Wildlife seal.

Go directly to ABC Humane Wildlife’s homepage to learn more about the originators of the nuisance wildlife control field in Illinois.

Raccoons in Illinois

While many species of wildlife have declined due to habitat loss associated with expansion of human settlements, raccoon populations have increased 20 fold in the past 70 years. Eighty percent of raccoons in the United States reside in urban or suburban (non-rural) areas (Prange, Gehrt, Wiggers, 2004). In a study of raccoon distribution and concentration among urban, suburban, and rural environments, Prange et al. (2004) found that the raccoon population in urban and suburban communities was dramatically higher versus a rural habitat. In the study, raccoon population densities averaged 55 per kilometer in an urban area, 67 per kilometer in a suburban area, and only 9 per kilometer in a rural area. There are more raccoons in cities than there are in the country.

Most female raccoons give birth to an average of 3 to 4 young in May or June, but some litters may arrive as late as August. Male raccoons kill young, so females drive them off and raise the young alone. Young raccoons begin accompanying their mothers outdoors to forage and play when they are 6 to 8 weeks old.

Juvenile raccoons practice their hunting skills by catching and eating rodents that are attracted by undigested seeds and berries in the raccoons’ feces. Scientists theorize that these feces-feeding rodents may be easy prey for young raccoons because they become infected by a brain parasite (Baylisascaris procyonis) excreted by raccoons. Because this parasite can also infect humans, raccoons pose a risk to human health and should be controlled and prevented from occupying human-occupied structures.

Raccoon Roundworm

Baylisascaris procyonis (Bp) is a parasitic roundworm that is documented to infect nearly 100 different animal species, including humans (Murray & Kazacos, 2004).  It is commonly referred to as “raccoon roundworm” due to its ubiquity among raccoons, and, is of particular interest to epidemiologists due to its zoonotic potential, meaning that the parasite can be transmitted from animals to humans.

Bp is a category of parasite known as neural larval migrans. These are worms that originate in the digestive tract, but migrate throughout the body, ultimately lodging in sensitive organs, such as the brain, eyes and spinal cord.

Raccoon roundworm is of particular interest to public health officials in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, because Chicagoland has higher raccoon populations than the outlying areas of the state.  It would surprise many people to learn that the highest populations of raccoons in Illinois are in the metro areas that are densely populated by humans, rather than the less populated forested and rural areas. The large number of raccoons living in close proximity to humans is concerning when it comes to the likelihood that a person will contract raccoon roundworm, because the larger the number of raccoons in an area, the greater the likelihood that humans will come in contact with their feces.

Wildlife in Illinois

The greatest threat facing wildlife is habitat loss. When Illinois and the Chicago region were comprised of deciduous forest, wetlands and prairie, a greater diversity of ecological niches existed supporting a greater variety of animals and plants.

Human expansion transforms once diverse ecosystems and removes them, making way for uniform landscapes, like homes and parking lots. The trees and plants that we then select for our landscaping are often invasive and fail to provide food or habitat for what wildlife remain.

In spite of our poor habitat management practices, some species of wildlife have endured and even thrived alongside us. Raccoons, for instance, have greater population numbers today than when covered wagons crossed this area 200 years ago. Fall population estimates for raccoons in the North Shore suburbs around Deerfield, Highland Park and Winnetka have reached 99 raccoons per square mile, and many towns in Cook County have reported record numbers of skunks in recent years.

Integrated Pest Management Principles for Humane Wildlife Control

Landmark Pest Management utilizes the humane wildlife control service of ABC Humane Wildlife Control & Prevention. Since Landmark Pest Management is an ABC Humane Wildlife Control & Prevention company, we know that ABC Humane Wildlife is aligned in the same Integrated Pest Management Principles that comprise the Landmark Difference.

  1. Modifying structures to keep wildlife out is the most humane, safe, and economical means of solving and preventing wildlife issues. Chimney caps, attic fan covers, attic vent guards, installing animal-proof screening beneath stoops and decks and correcting structural deficiencies should first be employed to reduce reliance on animal trapping.
  2. With adequate correction of structural deficiencies most rodent problems should be able to be well controlled without the long term use of rodenticide baits. When rodenticide baits are used as a knock-down agent for the immediate control of severe rodent problems, structural exclusion must take place in conjunction with their use to reduce reliance on rodenticides over time, with the ultimate goal of eliminating the need for rodenticides, since rodenticides may have the undesirable potential of reaching non-target species such as birds of prey and other wildlife.
  3. The control of bats and the remediation of bat colonies must center around the use of one-way-doors, called excluders, that allow bats to escape but not re-enter.

ABC Humane Wildlife Control and Prevention is headquartered in Arlington Heights and offers same day animal control service to Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, McHenry County, and parts of Kane and Will Counties. Their phones are staffed by state-certified nuisance wildlife control personnel who will create a plan encompassing exclusion, and if necessary trapping, to resolve your animal problem and restore your home or office to safe, sanitary conditions.

ABC Humane Wildlife’s 24 hour telephone number is (847) 870-7175 or you can learn more about their programs and book service on the web by visiting www.abcwildlife.com

Works Cited

Chris, A. (2006). Raccoon roundworm. Canadian Medical Association Journal , 174, 1410.

Eberhard, M. L., Nace, E. K., Won, K. Y., Punkosdy, G. A., Bishop, H. S., & Johnston, S. P. (2003). Baylisascaris procyonis in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 9, 1636-7.

Gavin, P. J., Kazacos, K. R., & Shulman, S.T. Baylisascariasis. (2005). Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 18, 703-18.

Herriman, R. E., (2010). Baylisascaris procyonis: the little known but very dangerous raccoon roundworm. Journal of Continuing Education Topics & Issues, 12.1, 36.

Murray, W. J., & Kazacos, K. R. (2004). Raccoon roundworm encephalitis. Emerging Infections, 39, 1484-92.

Okulewicz, A., Bunkowska K., (2009). Baylisascaris-a new dangerous zoonosis. Wiad Parazytol, 55, 329-34.

Owen, S. F., Edwards, J. W., Ford, W. M., Crum, J. M., & Wood, P. B. (2004). Raccoon roundworm in raccoons in central West Virginia. Northeastern Naturalists, 11, 137-142.

Page, L. K., Anchor, C., Luy, E., Kron, S., Larson, G., Madsen, L., … Smyser, T. J. (2009). Backyard raccoon latrines and risk for baylisascaris procyonis transmission to humans. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 15, 1530-1.

Page, L. K., Gehrt, S. D., & Robinson, N.P. (2008). Land-use effects on prevalence of raccoon roundworm. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 44(3),

Raccoon roundworm encephalitis-Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California, 2000. (2002). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 50, 1153-55.

Page, L. K., Swihart, R. K., & Kazacos, K. R. (2001). Seed preferences and foraging by granivores at raccoon latrines in the transmission dynamics of the raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 79, 616-622.

Prange, S., Gerhrt, S. D., Wiggers, E. P. (2004). Influences of anthropogenic resources on raccoon (procyon lotor” movements and spatial distribution. Journal of Mammalogy, 85, 483-90.

Roussere, G. P., Murray, W. J., Raudenbush, C. B., Kutilek, M. J., Levee, D. J., & Kazacos, K. R. (2003). Raccoon Roundworm Eggs near Homes and Risk for Larva Migrans Disease, California Communities. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 9, 1516-22.

Urbanek, R. E., Nielson, C. K., & Wilson, S. E. (2009). Survival of unexploited raccoons on a rural refuge in southern Illinois. Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science, 102.3-4, 217+. Retrieved from

Zeveloff, S.I. (2002). Racoons: a natural history. Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington, D.C., USA.