Scotland now has its first bed bug sniffing dog team - K9 Sweep.
Both dog and handler at Scotland's K9 Sweep have been trained and certified in the US by a leading dog trainer in California, who has trained police, drug, explosive and termite detection dogs over many years, more recently adding Bed Bugs and, amazingly, e.coli detection dog training to his brief.
Bed Bug Detection dogs have been used around the world especially in the USA and also in London for several years. Their use is growing in popularity because dogs can ‘sweep' or search a standard hotel room in a few minutes with less disruption to furnishings and with more accuracy than a human search, which might take 20 minutes or more and require hotel staff to service the room afterwards. A complete 3 bedroom home can be searched in approx 45 minutes by a dog whose nose can smell the minutest traces and is thousands of times more powerful than humans. Just think how sniffer dogs have grown in use for drug and explosive detection. Bed bug detection dogs are trained in exactly the same way to sniff out live bugs and their nymphs and have lots of fun doing so to ‘win' their tennis ball reward.
Allan Wells at Glasgow based K9 Sweep says "Bed Bug call outs to Pest Control companies are growing at a steady pace in Scotland, notably Glasgow and Edinburgh, and are expected to increase even more after the Olympics. This is due to the vast amount of people coming from all over the world, travelling around from venue to venue, hotel to hotel during the games and then heading to Scotland to take in the sights. Bed bugs are natural hitchhikers and will attach themselves to any warm blooded host they may find on an airplane, bus or train and then are brought into hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts without setting off alarm bells at security. They can slip into your luggage and you can take them back home with you. You can unknowingly take them with you to visit friends at their home or when you go to the cinema, your library or school and even to grandma at her nursing home."
These little blood sucking creatures (cimex lectularius) can lay 400-500 eggs in one year and in a study for Channel 4's Embarrassing Bodies, 2 bugs can become 80 bugs within 6 weeks. It is important to know that Bed Bugs are not proven to carry disease but knowing that they are in your home or bed can be psychologically disturbing as well as just plain uncomfortable. Some people have no reaction to bites and others have serious allergic reaction requiring hospital attention. It is also important to know what Bed Bugs look like and how to avoid them. It is also important to know that not all bites are Bed Bug bites and it is extremely difficult to differentiate between a flea, mosquito, spider or Bed Bug bite.
Responsible hotels should be proactive in their fight against Bed Bug infestations. A regular and ongoing search of their rooms will detect Bed Bugs early on before infestations become a problem. You should ask hotel management or reservations if they have an inspection program in place for Bed Bugs.
Allan adds "We can offer a proactive program of Bed Bug detection to hotels, nursing homes etc. We can assist Pest Control companies to reduce on site technician time at inspections, confirm ‘all clear' after treatments, and we can offer home owners or renters peace of mind when moving into a new home to ensure it is bug free. K9 Sweep provides detection by a trained and certified dog and handler team. We DO NOT offer treatments to get rid of Bed Bugs as that should only be performed by a reputable Pest Control company. If you need further information on our services, please visit our website at www.K9sweep.co.uk or call us on 07708 346540".