New Yorkers are besieged by rats who can read and bedbugs who eat poison for brunch (after they suck your blood for breakfast). If the feds can't help us, perhaps it's time to try a little tenderness? The WSJ reports that more women are entering the traditionally male-dominated profession of pest-control. "When people come to the door, they are surprised to see ladies, but they love to see ladies," Beverly Rice Brady, the co-founder of Pro Service Pest Control says. "They feel safer; they feel more comfortable having a girl in their home."

Women who are licensed pesticide technicians and certified pesticide applicators in New York have increased their numbers by 50% in the past ten years, as they're drawn to the steady job market and gross unique challenges presented by the job. One exterminator, Iliana Figueroa, tells of "apartments so infested that she had to walk sideways to avoid brushing up against a wall covered in bedbugs." But the problem-solving nature of the gig keeps her coming back: "People think, you're just walking in, putting down pesticides, and walking out. It's not that easy; it's not that mindless. There is an investigative part of it."

Sherry Carlson, an exterminator with Bug Doctor Termite & Pest Control, explains that she deals with phobias delicately, and with a personal touch. "I listen to their fears. When you see someone cry, whether it's over a mouse or the death of someone, you have to be sensitive to that emotion. I've walked away hugging people." Good to know for that *ahem* friend who gets pretty hysterical when he sees a mouse dart across the living room floor in the wee hours.