Got Bed Bugs? Canines to the Rescue

Almost 100 percent of pest management companies in the United States have dealt with a residential bed bug infestation, according to a survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky in 2013. Although appearing mainly in homes, apartments and condominiums, the researchers discovered that 75 percent of the pest control companies saw bed bugs in hotels and motels and 47 percent found them in college dorms. But rest assured, a highly successful ally in the fight against bed bugs has appeared in the form of bed bug sniffing dogs.

Sleeping with the Enemy

Bed bugs are small (1 mm to 7 mm) wingless insects that live off of the blood of animals and people. They generally feed while people are asleep in their beds. Bed bugs are found on most continents but have spread quickly throughout the United States, according to the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They can be found everywhere, in the family bedroom to the most sophisticated hotel guest room. Unlike other insect pests, the cleanliness of the environment does not determine the presence of bed bugs.

These pests show up where people sleep and normally don’t travel further than 8 feet away. Bed bugs hide in walls, bed frames, under tables and anywhere where there is clutter. The bugs do not carry disease but are a nuisance because they cause itching when they bite; some people may have an allergic reaction to the bite.

A Canine Hero

The University of Florida’s Department of Entomology performed a study on the ability of dogs to detect bed bugs through smell. The success rate of the dogs observed was nearly 98 percent with 0 percent false-positives. Results form the study appeared in PubMed, published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information for the National Institutes of Health.

Since the study, dog training centers have opened across the United States to find the right canines to detect these pests. Dogs have to have just the right personality to be a good bed bug dog, according to Mike Smith, who spoke to Michigan Live. Smith is the owner of Bed Bug Investigations in Southwest Michigan and has trained several dogs that have found bed bugs in libraries, hotels, homeless shelters and even hospitals.

Smith’s first bed bug dog, Daytona, has been certified by the International Association of Canine Pest Inspectors and the North American Detector Dog Association. The organizations certify everything from bomb-sniffing to bug-sniffing dogs. The right dog must have a strong instinct to hunt. Only about 1 out of 100 dogs qualify for certification.

Jennifer Morgan, owner of Bug Out K9 Academy in Fairhope, Ala., told Fox News that she uses a wheel with six arms to train her dogs. Each arm of the wheel has a container at the end. She places a bed bug in one of the containers and the dogs must identify the correct container. Each dog does something different when it finds the bug. One sits in front of the container. Another barks at it until the owner takes it out.

Finding the Right Company

While bug-sniffing dogs are becoming popular with pest management companies, Pedigree has some suggestions for finding a quality outfit to work with:

  • Ask for proof of training and certification of both the dog and owner. Make sure the certifications are current, as well.
  • Find out if the service and price includes inspection and extermination or inspection only. An inspection/extermination company profits from finding bugs so some people prefer to work with an inspection-only firm.
  • Get visual proof of any positive identifications, which will verify the dog’s accuracy.

Carol Pash considers herself a free spirit who’s passionate about animals, fashion, cupcakes, and traveling.

Startup Summer Internship In Chicago at doggyloot

Show your passion for doggyloot by actually coming to work with us.
We’re looking for rockstar intern this summer to work out of the Sandbox Industries office for doggyloot (, the world biggest flash sales site for dog products.
We HATE job descriptions, but here’s what we for sure need help with:
  • Own the analysis of our advertising data. You’ll run reports telling our team what worked and what needs improvement. That means you need to be comfortable with Excel
  • Analyze various aspects of our business (Payback analysis, cohort analysis, etc.)
  • Make stuff happen: Design an infographic, find new advertising partners, or anything that helps us grow our community and make dog’s across the country happier
  • Minimum of 10 hours per week, but more works too.
  • Must have extensive experience with Excel and be comfortable with data analysis
  • Love of dogs a plus, but not required
  • Accounting/Finance background with interest in marketing a plus, but passion trumps all
  • College drop outs preferred, but if you’re getting your MBA we’ll understand
We like people who take ownership, find things to do without needing to ask, and don’t mind wearing shorts to work in the summer. Have questions? Email our current intern to find out what its like to work here.
Ready to apply? Email with the subject line “Internship + Your Name”
1. One sentence about why you’d be awesome for the job
2. One sentence about your availability this summer
3. A resume and/or LinkedIn profile and/or something else that tells us about who you are
Background in business and data analysis required. Must be able to work at our office in Chicago.

The World’s Only Whale-Tracking Dog

Most dogs can do something special. But there’s only one dog like Tucker: he is said to be world’s only whale-tracking dog, according to a recent New York Times article. The black lab mix has a nose for orca scat (feces), which contains valuable information for researchers. Here’s a snippet from the article.

“For Tucker, though, it mostly comes down to his ball toy, which he plays with in exuberant, wild abandon, tossing it into the air and staging crouched bouts of tug of war with Ms. Seely. When a fecal sample is found, the researchers carry it toward him and then substitute the ball at the last second, reinforcing the connection between work and reward.”

Learn more about Tucker and see him in action in this fascinating video. And see more photos of Tucker here.

[Via Tracking a Subtle Scent, a Dog May Help Save the Whales]

Photo Credit: Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times.

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Dog survives 53 days in wild, reunited with owner

It seems like we hear about an unbelievable dog rescue story every couple of weeks. Add this one to the list.

On December 27 Barbara Bagley was in critically injured in a car accident that killed her husband. Her 4-year-old Shetland sheepdog Dooley (pictured right) bolted from the scene. Bagley, who suffered a concussion, broken ribs, a shattered wrist and two punctured lungs, never gave up hope that Dooley would be found safe in the Nevada desert. Her other pup Delaney (pictured left) was killed in the crash.

On January 6, before a search for Dooley began, what appeared to be the dog’s remains were discovered by the interstate, about 225 miles east of Reno. Bagley’s husband died from his injuries the same day. More than three weeks later, someone reported seeing a “Lassie-type dog” near the scene. Eventually, on February 18, Dooley was tracked down and rescued–53 days after the accident. He had survived on roadkill and scattered water sources. He lost 24 pounds. Dooley’s return has dramatically improved his owner’s mood. Here’s more from the Associated Press:

While Ms Bagley is still going through the grieving process over her husband’s death and recovering from her injuries, Dooley’s presence has picked up her spirits immensely.

‘He’s the physical and mental affection that I need to recover,’ she said. 

‘I owe him so much for the hope I have now and the renewed faith I have in prayer. Dogs are so great because of their unconditional love.’