Bed Bug-Sniffing Dogs
Reported September 2009
MATTAPOISETTA, Mass. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Good night, sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite. It appears that is easier said than done. The latest national statistics show a 71 percent increase in activity among the blood-sucking parasites, but now man's best friend is helping to sniff out the infestations.
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Badger and Tracer look like you typical lovable beagles, but they're tops dogs when it comes to detecting bedbugs.
Camp owner Will Rubenstein knows first-hand the havoc bedbugs wreak.
"We started seeing kids and counselors come down with this mysterious rash," Will Rubenstein, the owner of Camp Wingate Kirkland in Yarmouth, Mass., recalled to Ivanhoe. "We didn't know what it was."
Despite four visits from the exterminator, sprayings and thorough cleanings, the blood-sucking critters continued to feast on campers.
"It's terribly disruptive, embarrassing and strange at the same time," Rubenstein said.
But then he heard about Tracer and Badger. Their 200 million scent sensors can detect what man cannot find. Dogs pick up scents through the accordion-like folded membranes just behind their noses.
"Their ears also have an influence on their scent detection," Mike Tache, of American K-9 Private Investigators, Inc. in Mattapoisett, Mass., said.
Tache, owner of the dogs, raises live bedbugs and eggs to train the twosome. To keep them on their toes he routinely changes where he hides the bedbug bait.
The dogs have a 95 percent success rate. Within seconds both sniffed out the bugs, just as they had back at the camp.
"We were literally pulling live bedbugs out of beds, and that is a scary thing," Rubenstein recalled.
Another scary thing is bedbugs contain antifreeze in their bodies, which allows them to adapt to very cold temperatures.
"They can go into dormancy without feeding for up to 18 months," Tache explained. "Pretty scary, huh?"
But now with a little help from man's best friend, you can be bite-free.
Tracer and badger bring in about $150 to $200 an hour. With the increase in bedbug infestations, more and more of pooches around the country are being trained to search for bedbugs.
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American K-9 Private Investigators Inc
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