TORONTO — Being an outsider in the pest control industry has not stopped former pilot Dan Morgan from meeting Canada’s growing bed bug problem head on — and finding great success. Morgan, who founded Toronto-based Green Tech Bug Heat 11 years ago, has once again entered uncharted waters by making the jump to television.
Morgan and his team at GreenTech recently appeared in an episode of the CMT Canada reality TV program “Billy Goes North,” which stars Billy Bretherton, a PCO from Louisiana who starred in “Billy the Exterminator,” a reality show that ran from 2009 to 2012 on A&E. Bretherton’s newest TV project, “Billy Goes North,” follows the subculture icon as he traverses through Canada tackling the “biggest, baddest pests and wildest animals of the Great White North.”
As the show’s website states, “Billy travels from cities and suburbs to rural towns, farms and into the wilderness. From wolves preying on livestock and beavers flooding country roads to evicting porcupines from a northern cottage and escaped exotic animals running amok, no job is too difficult for Billy. Along the way, Billy teams up with local exterminators who have earned their stripes handling the North's wildest beasts.”
ABOUT GREENTECH. In choosing GreenTech as one of the companies to follow, the CMT Canada producers honed in on a fast-growing company that has earned a reputation for being a top bed bug control firm in Southern Canada.
GreenTech has come a long way since Morgan founded it in 2006. An airline pilot for 35 years, Morgan launched several business ventures to occupy his time while he was not in the air. In 2004, he launched Royal Forest Laundry, a successful laundromat. One of the trends he observed was customers needing to get items laundered due to bed bug problems.
“What I was finding out it is we were a lot of people’s first point of contact – not pest control companies,” Morgan said. “We would refer customers to a pest control company, but I didn’t like not having an answer and not having a solution for them.”
After doing extensive research on bed bugs and getting the proper training and certifications, he launched GreenTech in 2006 as the laundry firm's bed bug division. GreenTech uses heat treatments to control bed bugs, and will supplement those treatments with traditional pesticides when necessary. “One of the things I’ve observed is that bed bugs are different from mice and ants because it’s an emotional issue. You spend time counseling people. It’s not uncommon for people to be crying on the phone.”
While Morgan and his team have training and certifications to perform all types of pest control – not just bed bugs – he has chosen to focus only on bed bugs. “That goes back to my flight school training. We are very focused on doing one thing well.”
In fact, Morgan recently sold his laundry firm in order to devote himself fully to his bed bug business. GreenTech now has seven employees and Morgan says the company generates yearly revenue “in the seven figures.”
TV OPPORTUNITY. The opportunity to appear in “Billy Goes North” came from “out of the blue,” according to Morgan.
“I got a call to do a screen test in downtown Toronto. I met with a producer and read on camera and it went really well,” Morgan said. “For the most part, the show deals with larger animals – wrestling with raccoons and other shenanigans like that – but they wanted bed bugs too because they transcend geography and socioeconomic life in Canada. They are a problem not just in urban areas in Canada, but in northern regions too.”
After the producers approved Morgan as an on-air bed bug expert, the next step was finding a “camera worthy” bed bug infestation. A few months after meeting with producers, Morgan found such an account. A large (4,000-plus square foot), 85-year-old house that had been re-purposed for multi-unit rentals had a severe bed bug problem that Morgan estimated had gone unreported for at least one year.
For this particular treatment, Morgan and his crew used heat (140° F), which can permeate difficult-to-reach areas and kill bed bugs and their eggs.
Morgan said being a part of the filming was a great company-wide experience and the former pilot developed a kinship with Bretherton, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, who performed pest control at Air Force bases. “People shouldn’t pass judgement on him. He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He was extremely knowledgeable and a consummate professional.”
Learn more about the show at http://www.cmt.ca/show/billy-goes-north.