Home   Sittingbourne   News   Article

Mitie pest control in Sittingbourne uses Flick the dog used to sniff out bed bugs

They already sniff out drugs and explosives and now dogs are being used to tackle another scourge of our times - bed bugs.

Mitie Pest Control, which has branch in Sittingbourne, has employed an adorable canine, to help find them in domestic and commercial buildings.

Flick, a five-year-old labrador cross, can inspect up to 70 rooms a day.

Flick the five-year-old labrador who sniffs out bed bugs for a living
Flick the five-year-old labrador who sniffs out bed bugs for a living

Chris Wickenden, the dog's handler, says the pooch often turns heads when he brings her along to a job.

"Everyone wants to pet her as soon as she enters a room, but when she’s working she can be quite rude and just ignore people because she’s so interested in finding the bugs," he said.

Despite the company - which takes care of Swale council’s pest control service - trying traditional methods in the past, the 47-year-old says Flick far outstrips the alternatives.

“It’s a time thing, the nose of a dog is a thousand times better, where as a pest controller you could be there for hours searching,” he said.

"She's my partner in crime, I can't do it without her" - Chris Wickenden, Flick's handler

“There’s no way a human could search so many rooms in a day like a dog can.

“She’s my partner in crime, I can’t do it without her.”

The animal is specially trained to root out the blood-sucking insects, which nest in mattresses, upholstery and furniture.

In her two-and-a-half year career, Flick has performed thousands of inspections across Swale and Mr Wickenden reckons the toughest jobs he’s been to are those involving students and the elderly.

“Some of the worst places for bed bugs are student accommodation and old people homes,” he said.

“I was running the dog around a university in Kent a few weeks back but bed bugs aren’t prejudiced when it comes to where they live.”

But the pest controller, who has been working for the company for 15 years, said his dog is mainly employed to check hotels, where a single strike by bed bugs can cripple a business.

Chris Wickenden with his bed bug sniffer dog
Chris Wickenden with his bed bug sniffer dog

“Some hotels don’t like you to admit what the dog is searching for and when I bump into a guest I usually say she’s a drugs dog,” he said.

“They’d rather I say that than bed bugs.”

There’s no doubting Flick’s enthusiasm for her job, but Mr Wickenden said she’ll always be a family dog.

“She may be the hardest working dog in pest control but she’s also the most spoilt,” he laughs.

“Flick is as much a family dog as she is a working one - the family would never forgive me if I ever gave her up.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More