K9 Bed Bug Detection

Training Update

Maggie had a great training session yesterday.  We were inspecting a room where a training aid (live bugs) had been hidden behind a painting that was above the couch.

That’s a pretty difficult situation because you wouldn’t think to check for bugs behind a painting or a picture, but when it’s located above a couch or a bed it’s a common place to find the bugs, so we’re training Maggie to check there when she she’s that kind of set up.

As soon as we entered the room she had the scent and tracked it to the couch, and followed the scent up the wall to the painting, and she bumped the painting with her nose and the painting moved, which scared her.  This is great because it should teach her she doesn’t need to put her nose on item to smell the bugs, and with certain items, like a painting or a picture, she shouldn’t, and that picture moving like it did taught her that better than we ever could.

So what she did next, because she was still a little spooked, was she gave me a strange alert with a half sit, which really amounted to her squatting, not sitting, and looking back at me hoping that would be good enough…  It wasn’t.  I withheld the reward she was hoping for, and she jumped down off the couch and started searching the rest of the room hoping she could find the scent somewhere else and she wouldn’t have to be so close to that scary painting.  She searched the entire room and to her chagrin, didn’t find any more scent, so she tried alerting somewhere else where she remembered she had found the training aid in the past, hoping that would work.  Of course it did not, I told her to keep searching.  She tried that one more time just to make sure she couldn’t get away with it, before jumping back up onto the couch and alerting properly, and getting her reward.

Sometimes being so smart can make it harder to train a dog, but in this case yesterday, she was learning important lessons all on her own, which is the best way for her to learn them.

Tips to avoid bringing bed bugs home from a hotel

The tiny, blood-sucking pests are light brown, and the adults are slightly less than a quarter of an inch long. They love to make their homes in mattresses, bedding and furniture. They most often feed on people at night while their victims sleep. The bugs don’t transmit disease, but their bites leave itchy white and red welts. They’re also adept at hitching rides in clothing and suitcases.

The problem is getting worse. A recent survey of pest control operators funded by the National Pest Management Association showed the problem is intensifying, especially in the South.

There’s really nothing available over the counter to tackle the problem because every bug has to be sprayed directly, and no pesticides are very good at killing the eggs, so reinfestation is common.

To help ensure you don’t bring any home from your next stay at a hotel, follow these travel tips:

• Inspect your hotel room when you arrive. Check mattress seams and folds. Look for blood spots the size of a pencil point. Check behind the headboard as well. They can even lurk in a picture frame or in a popcorn ceiling.

• If you see signs of bed bugs, demand another room, and inspect that one as well.

•- In the room, keep your suitcases away from furniture and walls until you finish your inspection. Keep your suitcase closed overnight and inside tightly sealed plastic garbage bags when you’re not using them. Keep your shoes and socks inside the plastic bag while you sleep. Bedbugs are attracted to the odor of feet.

• When packing to leave, check your clothing and luggage for signs of the small insects. Check seams and folds carefully.

• Back at home, immediately wash all your laundry from the trip in hot water, then machine dry on the highest setting for at least 20 minutes. Even if you don’t wash, putting possibly infested items into the dryer on high heat will kill bed bugs. Even dry-cleanable clothing can be put in driers if you don’t wet it first.

Read more at the Seattle Times

If you think you may have bed bugs, Maggie and I will find those bed bugs for you.  To schedule a time for me to inspect your home for bedbugs, call me at (408) 389-4225 or email me at bugfinderj@gmail.com. Maggie and I will be happy to provide you some peace of mind.

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