A day in the life of a New York ‘rat killer’: How an exterminator targets rodents

NEW YORK (WPIX) — New York City is one of the hottest cities in usaand there are millions of stories about rats in the Big Apple, but perhaps none quite like the exterminators.

Nexstar’s WPIX got a first-hand look at the never-ending job of a “rat killer” by spending a day with one who does his job a little differently.

One bright and sunny morning, Matt Deodato, with Urban Pest Management, was hunting for rat nests in Yorkville, Manhattan. Like many neighborhoods, this area is inundated with rodent complaints.

Deodato didn’t see any pits at first, but it didn’t last long.

He found at least four active rat burrows inside a bed on East 95th Street, near First Avenue.

Deodato uses a method that is less common than the typical rat bait stations that most exterminators use. It’s called Burrow X, and the process begins when Deodato puts a hose into the rats’ holes.

“The Burrow X machine releases carbon monoxide, and they die from carbon monoxide exposure,” Deodato explained. “If you have an active area, it eliminates it in 3 to 5 minutes.”

In a city where people change very little, shutting down the rat holes stopped New Yorkers in their tracks.

Erica Venero, who lives on East 95th Street, calls the block “Rat Street” and blames it on bagged trash, especially behind the nearby public school.

“The trash is probably going to be this big, so if you’re walking, they’re going to be up to your waist,” she said. “They should have bins or something.”

Deodato said proper trash cans are key because rats can chew through traditional hard plastic bins.

“These are all things that just make it easier for them to survive,” he said of improperly stored trash.

Curbside collection rules are changing in April. New Yorkers will have to take out the trash later in the evening, so it doesn’t sit around as long before being picked up. New York City Mayor Eric Adams is too trying to hire the rat emperor.

City data shows calls for rat help jumped by 1,500 calls from 2021 to 2022.

“What can you do? That’s winning battles. I think the war is ultimately theirs,” Deodato said.

The Latest

To Top