How 'Nice Jewish Boy' Exterminator Rids a City of Pests

Orthodox Exterminator Kills Bugs — the Torah Way

Bedbugs, Beware: Moshe Stein fully dressed for action eradicating insects from an Orthodox family’s apartment in Brooklyn.
Martyna Starosta
Bedbugs, Beware: Moshe Stein fully dressed for action eradicating insects from an Orthodox family’s apartment in Brooklyn.

By Paul Berger

Published June 02, 2014, issue of May 30, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Later, at a suspected bedbug infestation in a musty Boro Park apartment, five children, from an infant to a girl of about 12, stood aside while Stein strode into a bedroom.

Two twin beds and two cribs took up almost the entire floor space of the room.

Stein turned over the mattress of one of the twin beds and ran his bare fingers along the edges of the grubby mattress. Then he flipped the box spring and ran his fingers along the blackened edges until he found a baby bedbug crawling lazily along.

He squeezed the bug, and blood smeared across his finger. “Looks like it ate recently,” Stein said.

Further along the box spring he found bedbug eggs and more babies.

“Have you gone away anywhere, like for Pesach?” Stein asked the mother.

Then, he reassured her: “We will take care of it, with God’s help.”

Stein says that the Torah warns against causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal.

“If the Torah cares about how [animals] feel, then I definitely have to care about how they feel,” he said.

He uses snap traps on rats and mice because they kill rodents quickly. “Boom!” Stein said. “It’s done.”

When he uses live traps, Stein checks them every 12 to 24 hours to make sure the animal has access to food and is not imprisoned for too long.

Much of Stein’s job is about deterring and killing pests. But there’s a good bit of rescue and rehabilitation work, too. Over the years, Stein has retrieved raccoons, opossums, woodchucks and squirrels.

He says exterminators often euthanize raccoons because they are a rabies vector species. But Stein always looks after them. Recently, he picked up a baby raccoon that was discovered behind the kitchen wall of an apartment in Brooklyn.

Stein took the raccoon to his home in Monsey, New York, and built a makeshift den for the animal, where it lived for nine days before a rehabilitator agreed to take it in.

“I felt that I am given this opportunity,” Stein said. “I will be its mother for a little bit, give it a second chance.”

When Stein started out in the pest control business nine years ago, there were about five Orthodox pest control services. Today, he reckons there are about 30 such companies.

He says that many Orthodox Jews who lost jobs or businesses during the financial crisis of 2008 saw an opportunity in Orthodox pest control.

“A lot of Jews own real estate, so a lot of people jumped into it,” he said.

Before his incarnation as an exterminator, Stein worked as an assistant manager at a home for developmentally disabled children in Brooklyn. He said that the salary was too low to support his family, so he began moonlighting as an exterminator for a company owned by his friend’s mother-in-law, NJB Pest Control.

Stein soon realized that he could make more money as an exterminator, so he quit his job and bought NJB, which stands for “Nice Jewish Boy.”

Stein says the name suits him well.

“Listen, I am a nice Jewish boy and I kill bugs,” Stein said. “That’s what I do.”

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter, @pdberger


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.