Now that he has annihilated millions of cockroaches and rodents, not to mention preposterous quantities of silverfish, cereal mites, carpet beetles, bedbugs, ants, wasps, termites and a few snakes, Sam Bloom figures he knows a thing or two about pest control. Don’t serve beer to the cockroaches. Make sure the rats don’t get into the bulldozer seats. Stick your empty soda cans in the dishwasher.
Mr. Bloom runs Standard Exterminating in Long Island City, one of the city’s oldest exterminators. It will gladly eradicate pests anywhere within the five boroughs. Occasionally, it will dispatch someone into the suburbs for a good flying ant or earwig problem. “And we don’t really charge anything for our service,” Mr. Bloom likes to say. “Just a dollar apiece for the little funerals.”
Exterminating is one of the hardiest professions in New York, for the simple reason that New York pests are impressively obstinate. Yet over the years, the war on bugs has got appreciably more refined, as Standard Exterminating, enemy of insects since 1929, knows well. Exterminators don’t even like to be called exterminators anymore. They prefer pest-control technicians. They’re Everywhere