Preventing and Eliminating Pests Urban and Suburban Wildlife

It’s a common scene on a New York street. A woman dressed in head-to-toe black is walking down the street, chatting on her phone. A rat the size of a small cat appears from behind a garbage can and wanders right across the woman's path; her gait doesn’t even waver as she takes a giant leap to avoid tripping over or stepping on the unafraid rodent.

“Rats have grown accustomed to New Yorkers, and they’re not even scared of them anymore,” says Nana Kojo Ayesu, owner of Kojo’s Pest Elimination Company LLC, based in the Bronx.

When the topic of pests in New York City comes up, rats, roaches and sometimes even pigeons are likely the first critters to leap to mind for most people. But New York City covers a lot of territory and different parts of the city harbor different pests. And they all seem as forthcoming as New Yorkers themselves, crawling and scampering right into condos, co-ops, townhomes and houses to make themselves right at home. It’s time to seize the day and to kick those critters out. But how? It depends on the season and the critter but we’ve grilled some of the Big Apple's professional exterminators to get their secrets. 

Who Goes There? 

The first step is to figure out who is lurking in your home, says Arthur Katz, president of Knockout Pest Control in Uniondale. Homeowners on the 23rd floor in Manhattan won't usually have to worry about bees, termites or carpenter ants invading their abode, for example, Katz says. “Those come from structural problems, and they won’t be in apartments,” but everyone living in New York City will have to be on high alert for roaches, water bugs, mice, bed bugs and carpet beetles. 

Still, if there were a competition among vermin to find the most universally present pest critter, rodents would win—they’re anywhere and everywhere, Ayesu says. “The major pest problems I find in New York City are rodents, followed by bed bugs, followed by roaches.” High-rise dwellers may have fewer problems than those in private homes, but their issues may be more challenging because of the propensity of these critters to travel from one home to another. 

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