When Chad Dunn graduated from high school in 1998, he really didn’t have a fix on what career was best for him. Looking to remedy that, Dunn went to see a job counsellor and top of the list was pest control.
“I asked them what that was,” he said with a smile.
After learning as much as he could about pest control and pest elimination, Dunn set about acquiring the pre-requisite for a pest elimination future. (Pest elimination is the total elimination of the invasive bug whereas pest control just keeps the critters at bay).
“The first thing was passing the permit test for pesticide application,” he said.
“And the second was to secure a job in the industry.”
Orkin in Prince George hired him and provided a three-month training period.
The company taught him the basics of entomology, why certain bugs are in certain areas, learning the habits of pests and identification of what type of pest you’re facing were some of the many aspects to pest elimination.
“I love my job because it makes people more comfortable in their homes and businesses,” he said.
After one and half years with Orkin, Dunn moved to the Lower Mainland, hoping to gain experience in areas not offered through Orkin.
“I always wanted to run my own business but was determined to be as knowledgeable as possible before I did that,” he said.
Knowing Quesnel needed a pest elimination expert, Dunn was happy to return to town where he was born and raised.
In May 2014, he opened his business Nuk’em Pest Elimination and serviced about 40 clients, mostly residential, in the first year.
Among the most common pests in the North Cariboo are wasps who establish nests in attics, crawl spaces and anywhere they can invade.
“They’ll use available materials to make their nests including drywall, insulation, any paper products and they love cardboard boxes,” Dunn said.
“There’s no limit to the size these nests can achieve. They will return to a successful nest site and can attach new nests to the old ones. They are particularly attracted to warm, east-facing locations.”
Recently, Dunn was called to a local school where a rather large nest was established in a crawl space.
“The nest had grown to a size that was resting on the furnace ductwork and the humming could be heard in the classroom closest to that area,” he said.
“They knew where the wasps were coming in and out and that’s where I flooded the area with a residual insecticide (this product is safe once it’s dried) but that was just the beginning.”
It would take two days to kill the nest of about 15,000 wasps.
Experience has taught Dunn when dealing with wasps its most important to remain calm and move slowly. He said wasps can sense agitation and that is interpreted as aggression which triggers an attack. Several students at the school had already been stung.
“In the 15 years I’ve been in the business I’ve never been stung once.”
Dunn entered the crawl space and with his flashlight illuminated wasps walking on the nest and flying in the confined area.
“All I could hear at that point was the humming which sounded like electricity in the ductwork.”
He explained that all flying, stinging insects have guards who patrol the perimeter and those are the bugs you go for first.
Dunn was packing all the equipment and supplies he’d need to win the war on this particular nest.
“I reached for my pyrethrin fog aerosol which kills on contact, which eliminated the guards and about a quarter of the wasps in the nest and in the crawl space. The next morning I was able to move closer to the nest and realized just how massive it was – about four feet high and three feet across.”
He proceeded to fill the nest’s entrance holes and poked holes at the areas he could reach with his aerosol fog and that killed the balance of the nest including the four queens who resided in the nest and hundreds of eggs.
A shop vac and garbage bags finished the job.
With the nest gone and the residual left on the entrance, Dunn said there was virtually no chance it would re-establish which made parents, students and staff very happy.
Wasps are just one of the many species Dunn can take care of and he added that huge nest in the school was only the second-largest in his career so far. He’s especially adept at irradiating bedbugs, bats and mice but, other than large carnivores, says there’s nothing he won’t tackle.
He also carries a large variety of products for purchase for preventative items for small application elimination such as flies, mosquitos and wasps but recommends whatever product the public purchases they must read the label thoroughly before usage.
Dunn also said they offer discreet service for those requiring it.
At the end of the year, Nuk’em Pest Elimination decided to donate to a local charity the equivalent of about two per cent of the year’s business. Last year they made a modest donation to the Canadian Cancer Society and look forward to larger donations as the business grows.