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The pest controllers bugging people...

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Elham Rizi | 17:23 UK time, Wednesday, 30 June 2010

First off, the gang are in London on the trail of ADN pest control. Although the company is based in Kent, it operates all over South East England.

One customer stung by ADN is Sasha Taylor from Highbury in North London. She contacted the company after finding bed bugs.

At first, ADN Pest Control seemed like a professional looking outfit. They gave her a competitive quote of £125 and could come out quickly. But as soon as one of their technicians turned up she began to worry.

"He just started spraying it [the poison]. He didn't really look around. He just lifted the bed and started spraying. He didn't talk much so I had to ask him, 'What are you doing?' and 'How do you know it's there?'".

It's absolutely crucial for a pest controller to look round a property thoroughly before treating; otherwise they would have no idea if their application will be effective. They also must keep the homeowner informed about the chemicals used as they can be dangerous in the wrong hands and pose big health threats. Unfortunately for Sasha, ADN did neither of these requirements. They also showed a distinct lack of care for safety of themselves, and their customers too. Not only did the pest controller not wear a mask, nor did he ask Sasha to leave the room while he was spraying the pesticide.

Sasha paid ADN £125, but ten days later she realised the bugs were still there. She complained to the company and they sent someone else out. But this still didn't cure the problem; so she decided to cut her loses and call out a different company; costing her a further £150.

"The way their website was, they're like we'll get rid of the problem. So you trust them. It was just a really bad experience".

The sums of money involved aren't huge here, but when we're talking about pest control, we're talking about chemicals that can be dangerous. It was time to test them out for ourselves. The team found a house in Bexley, employed stooge Mark to act as the homeowner and found bed bug expert, David Cain to supervise the sting. David planted the bedroom with faeces, blood and carcasses; and took his place in the hide waiting for our ADN Pest Controller to arrive.

Chemical Mick makes an appearance...

Our ADN man introduced himself as Mick who had a quick look but couldn't see any signs of the bugs... even though we littered them around the bed. Despite not seeing any sign of infestation, Mick decided to start diluting some insecticide.

Mick told us that the chemical he is using is called Cimetrol - a strong chemical frequently used to treat bed bugs. To buy it you need a license, and the law says everyone who uses pesticides must be competent.

However, immediately there was cause for concern. Firstly ADN's pest controller realised the pesticide is frozen and he found it difficult to mix properly. Chemicals should always be kept in a controlled environment, and this batch clearly has not been. Secondly, he balanced the chemical tank on the bed - not a steady surface to rest an unsealed tank. It is also an irritant and must not be used on bedding because it becomes active when it's wet, and people may sweat at night.

David Cain is far from impressed already. "That's very dangerous; he is leaving a tank of insecticide which isn't secure on a surface which isn't stable". Sure enough, Mick spilt the liquid on the bed, rendering the mattress impossible to sleep on for several days.

Mick then started splashing the chemical all over the room, without any protective clothing. He also did not ask Mark to leave the room, and continued to talk to him whilst working. It's not just his customers' health & safety he's being cavalier about either. Cimetrol can cause respiratory problems, and it's always recommended to wear a mask, but Mick decided not to wear one, despite Mark offering him one. Soon Mick began to sneeze - feeling the effects of the chemicals.

After he realised there are still problems caused by the frozen insecticide, Mick poured some of his chemicals down the bath. Mark questioned whether he should be doing this, but the pest controller assured him that there's nothing to worry about.

Expert David Cain was very concerned: "That is completely illegal to do, that is because insecticides are all extreme marine pollutants and they cannot be poured straight down a standard drain".

As he finished up, Mick advised our stooge to leave the room for six hours until it was dry, and then he said it will be so safe that kids can even roll on the floor.

David Cain is shocked: "Children when they are rolling around on the floor touch things and put their hands in their mouth. This is not safe advice to be giving".

Mick charged us £102.93 - which is a reasonable price if he'd done a good job, but unfortunately he left our house in a dangerous mess.

Time to Meet the Boss

It's time for us to catch up with the boss of ADN Pest Control. We found out his name is David Nixon, and he's been running this company for a while. Apparently out of an address in Welling.

On all of ADN Pest Control's paperwork they state the company's based in Bexley, North Kent. But we couldn't find him or any trace of his company there. Luckily we received a tip off - it seems our man doesn't have an office. Instead, every Friday he pulls up on a street corner in North London at dawn to meet his staff. His pest controllers visit him one by one while he stays in his car.

We tried to catch up with Nixon, but as soon as he saw us he sped off in his van.

We did manage to get our allegations to him in the form of a letter. He replied saying he had sacked Mick, but a few weeks after sending us that letter we discovered them meeting on the same street corner in North London, looking suspiciously like they might be working together again.

Download our handy pest control factsheet here


  • Comment number 1.

    I used this company and found them to be a great help especially as they give a 3 month guarantee. I didn't have the one called Mick attend but the guy that did was great he gave me sheets of what the chemicals were and explained what he was doing. You can't blame the guy who owns the company because of one bad technician its not fair he can't follow them around to each property. I tried to phone them to make a booking to take care of a problem and found that they are no longer about so will now have to start ringing round getting quotes.


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