best of new york 2021

The Best Exterminators in New York

Photo-Illustration: by Curbed; Photos Getty Images

Since 1985, our annual “Best of New York” issue has named standout services, unique shops, and special spots in dozens of categories. Now that Curbed is part of New York’s family, we have reimagined “Best of New York” as an ever-expanding resource that could rival Yelp in usefulness but feels more like a secret Google doc that gets passed among friends. To find the places recommended on these lists, we polled hundreds of stylish and savvy New Yorkers and begged them to tell us their go-tos. The result: our own Yellow Pages, containing only excellent places.

For a Less-Noxious Approach

Arrow Exterminating Company, arrowexterminating.com; 212-223-4220

Arrow was named our Best Exterminator of 2007 for its careful handling of poison pellets and noxious gasses and for its science-based methods. “It makes an inventory of a home’s residents before it starts a job (no matter what others tell you, some substances aren’t kid- and pet-friendly), deploys nature-based methods when appropriate, and, when not, uses pesticides judiciously to keep customers safe,” we wrote. “Best of all, it relies on real science to get the job done: A board-certified staff entomologist teaches workers how bugs behave so they can devise tactics that actually work. Behavioral science? No wonder the city’s Department of Transportation relies on it to keep the Queensboro Bridge pigeon free.” It is still open, and though it no longer handles the bridge, Michael Deutsch, who has been with the company for 16 years, says that during the pandemic, “we were the ones chosen to monitor all the emergency tents for pests. We’ve been there four times a week, doing monitoring, trapping. It has been pretty exciting.”

For Rats

Black Widow Pest Control, blackwidowpest.com, 212-933-1834

Illustration: Jorge Colombo

A carpet-beetle infestation reported by the board president of a Park Avenue building; a major mice issue plaguing some high-profile residences near Central Park — these are a couple recent jobs taken on by Black Widow Pest Control, which we first heard about from a noted city-rat scientist (he asked to remain anonymous but named Black Widow as one of the top companies he makes referrals to). Black Widow was founded 18 years ago by Rita Bonamo-Geiger, a woman unafraid to stare down “basements that even supers don’t want to go in,” according to her son Nick, who now helps manage the business. The company will field requests from individual tenants (for a base rate of $150), but Nick prefers to work with co-op boards or management companies because, as he puts it, “I can’t really solve the problem if I can’t get to the surrounding units.”

For a 15-Minute Response Time

24/7 Pest Control NYC, 247pestcontrolnyc.com; 646-661-7415

In the midst of a mice outbreak in her Bushwick townhouse, hairstylist Jessica Gillin Googled to find 24/7 Pest Control NYC. “Frank texted me back 15 minutes later,” Gillin says. Frank, the company’s owner, sent over an employee to seal up holes with foam throughout the three floors of her space, along with the basement (for a total of $1,200; prices start at $250). When the mice proved to be persistent and kept finding ways to get through, Frank himself showed up at the townhouse free of charge. “He put metal grates around all the pipe holes for my appliances on the back wall,” Gillin says. And she hasn’t seen any mice since.

For Chloë Sevigny’s Pest Guy

MMPC, mandmpestcontrol.com; 212-219-8218

When Chloë Sevigny finds a pest in her kitchen, she calls up MMPC, as do Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen Barkin. MMPC — which, like Black Widow, is a certified M/WBE — specializes in ecofriendly services and methods, from cryonite rapid freezing to canine bedbug inspections, many of which are performed by technicians who happen to be trained carpenters, too. According to one Upper East Side client, a finance worker who spoke under condition of anonymity, the company was able to eliminate a bedbug issue that a previous top-rated company had failed to even diagnose — as the bugs were only biting one of her children, rather than the whole family, the client’s case was trickier than usual. After a series of fumigations — of both the apartment and the family’s tented belongings — “we never saw another bedbug,” the client says. She continued to have MMPC monitor her apartment monthly and set up interceptor cups to prevent any recurrences. “This was all very disruptive and expensive,” she notes, “but we wanted to have 100 percent success and move on.” (MMPC charges $250 and up, and its service includes free pest ID-ing and entomologist service, in which the pests are analyzed in a lab.)

For an Investigative Approach

NYC Pest, nycpest.com; 718-762-1820

We recommended Green Apple Pest Management — now called Evergreen Eco Pest Control — in 2015 for its tendency to “home in on the breeding source” before “dousing a pest-infested space with chemicals.” This is still very much the case. One recent client had a rash of fungus-feeding beetles on the basement floor. Evergreen discovered a hatch under an old area rug that led to a crawl space the client didn’t even know existed — the crawl space had an old-fashioned drain with running water going into gravel where gnats and beetles were breeding. “The tool we pride ourselves on most is understanding the etymology of the insect,” says owner Jesse Scaravella.

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