NEW YORK (WPIX) — New York City is one of the rattiest cities in the U.S., and there are millions of rat stories from the Big Apple, but perhaps none quite like those from an exterminator.
News 2’s sister station, WPIX, got a first-hand look at the never-ending job of a “rat killer” by spending the day with one who is doing his job a little differently.
On a bright and sunny morning, Matt Deodato, with Urban Pest Management, was on the hunt for rat nests in Yorkville, Manhattan. Like many neighborhoods, it’s an area flooded with rodent complaints.
Deodato didn’t see any burrows at first, but it didn’t take long.
He found at least four active rat burrows inside tree beds on East 95th Street, near First Avenue.
Deodato uses a method that’s less common than the typical rat bait stations most exterminators put out. It’s called Burrow X, and the process starts when Deodato puts a hose into the rat holes.
“The Burrow X machine gives out carbon monoxide, and they are dying from the exposure to the carbon monoxide,” Deodato explained. “If you have an active area, it eliminates it in 3 to 5 minutes.”
In a city where people are phased by very little, the gassing of the rat burrows stopped New Yorkers in their tracks.
Erica Venero, who lives on East 95th Street, calls the block “rat alley” and blames the garbage thrown out in bags, especially behind a nearby public school.
“The garbage will probably be this high, so if you’re walking, they are frolicking waist-high from you,” she said. “They should have bins or something.”
Deodato said proper garbage bins are key because rats can chew through the traditional hard plastic cans.
“These are all the things that just make it so easy for them to survive,” he said of the improperly kept garbage.
The rules around curbside trash pickup change in April. New Yorkers will have to put trash out later at night, so it doesn’t sit as long before pickup. New York City Mayor Eric Adams is also trying to hire a rat czar.
Data from the city shows that requests for help with rats jumped by 1,500 calls from 2021 to 2022.
“What can you do? It’s winning battles. I think the war, in the end, is theirs,” Deodato said.