This bug’s for you: ‘Rambug’ brings local exterminators to TV

April 12, 2012 Denise Romano
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The bug stops here.

Robert Mercante’s career as an exterminator has come full circle. He answered an “Exterminator Wanted” ad in this very publication over 25 years ago. Now, he is featured in it as a star of an upcoming reality show that premieres on A & E next month with the same name as his company: “Rambug.”

“I wanted to create something fun,” Mercante said. “I hope it comes across as a fun type of show and that people will like it.”

Rambug has been in business on Avenue T since 1987. The team, which consists of Mercante, his brother Ralph, his “brother from another mother” Big Rob, his son Little Rob and the office manager, Rose, have also been showing up for jobs in a truck complete with a giant cockroach on top, and wearing full camouflage since then.

Mercante said the idea for a reality show came to him after watching television reports of the bedbug craze a couple of years ago. “I live in Long Beach on the ocean and had the doors open one day,” he recalled. “It dawned on me: we have to show the world what goes on behind the scenes.”

Mercante told his cousin, Maria Desio, who has a high clientele skin care business in Beverly Hills, about his idea. She started to ask around. “From there, it all fell into place,” he said.

The series follows Mercante and his team to exterminating jobs around the city, as well as highlighting capers in the office. In one scene during the pilot episode, Big Rob and Little Rob are in a heated argument concerning the latter’s chronic lateness. “People, please, I am on the phone with a customer!” screams Rose.

Mercante, Ralph and a friend of theirs are also in a band, Sounds of Infinity, which plays the show’s theme song. “It’s a dream come true that we got this far,” Mercante said. “Being an exterminator in Brooklyn, sometimes you feel like a rock star.”

“Rambug” premieres on A &E on Saturday, May 5 at 10 p.m.

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