Iowa firm uses dog to sniff out bedbugs at hotels
Sunday, April 24, 2011
WATERLOO, Iowa- A Waterloo pest control business is hoping to sniff
out bedbugs by a nose.
Aable Pest Control now has Charlie, a 2-year-old Jack Russell
terrier, to help in the fight against bedbugs. The company spent
$7,000 to buy Charlie from a dog training school in Kansas City,
Mo., which usually trains dogs for police departments but in the
past few years has trained them to detect bugs, the Waterloo-Cedar
Falls Courier reported.
Mike Price, who founded the company in 1981, said it was worth the
investment as the bedbug problem continues to grow.
"We pretty much eliminated the bedbug population back in the '50s
and '60s when we had more potent insecticides available," he
Price said Charlie helps make it easier to find bedbugs.
"If you lift the mattress and see bugs, of course you don't need a
dog," he said.
He said the bugs sometimes bunch together like cockroaches but
sometimes they don't.
"I found one on the head of a Phillips screwdriver, and I've found
one on a clothes hanger," Price said. "They can hide just about
Charlie is particularly helpful on bigger jobs, like inspecting
hotels, said Price, who also runs Terminex franchises in Dubuque,
Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
"Let's say it's a 90-room hotel, we'll take a dog in a third of the
rooms every month," he said. "You've got to turn over mattresses
and box springs and turn night stands upside down to look in cracks
and things. A dog can inspect a hotel room in probably five
Since Price got Charlie, the dog has only been on a few calls and
Price cautions that "it's not 100 percent."
But using dogs to sniff out bedbugs is becoming more common across
the country, he said.
"Dogs are becoming a big part of bedbug detection," Price said. "I
had to wait three months on a waiting list to get the dog."