Pastor's pest control mission

"'Go to the ant, thou sluggard,'" Pastor Joel Grassi read aloud from the Proverbs of Solomon Friday. "'Consider her ways and be wise.'"

Grassi estimates he is the world's only Baptist pastor exterminator.

"I tell people that I pray for God's creatures on Sunday and then I help eliminate them Monday through Friday," he said.

We met Joel at his Commonwealth Community Baptist Church in the Parkchester section of the Bronx but spoke to him not in his capacity as a man of God but instead as a professional killer of vermin with BHB Pest Elimination.

"Oh, very busy," Grassi said of the last few weeks. "The phone's been ringing with a lot of ant calls this year to be sure."

Ants in this city emerge every year right about now, when our climate warms and stays warm.

"They're seasonal and this is what they do," Grassi said. "Even the Bible says they come during the harvest."

Entomologists estimate nearly 17 billion ants live in the five boroughs — more than 2,000 ants for every human New Yorker.

"It's mainly just a nuisance," Grassi said. "I think the biggest problem is when you find them in your kitchen and they've gotten into your food."

For those battling an infestation, Grassi recommends they first try to coexist with their local ant colony, covering food and sealing the — probably plentiful — nooks and crannies in apartment walls, floors, counters and cabinets. Then if one grows fed up with the anties, call an exterminator but know only one in that vocation will draw upon the services he performs ridding your home of pests with traps and tricks and poison, for his Sunday sermon.

"'The ants are a people not strong,'" Grassi continued reading from Solomon. "'Yet they prepare their meat in the summer.'"