Who would have thought that the newest way to combat bedbug infestations would not only be way more efficient than human exterminators, but would also be ... super cute?! Bedbug-sniffing dogs, which the Times charmingly refers to as “adorable yet stunningly accurate," are the latest trend in bedbug removal, as they (well, the well-trained ones, at least) are able to detect a single live bug or egg with 96 percent accuracy.
And since there has been a recent uptick (bug puns!) in bedbug infestations in the city, companies using these dogs are seeing an increase in business to search for what some have called “the pest of the century.” The Times spotlights Bed Bug Inspectors, a six-month-old company that has “vetted hotels, college dorms and Midtown office buildings, suburban homes, bare-bones Brooklyn rentals and tony Manhattan co-ops.” The company — which is not affiliated with an exterminator — charges $350 for a residential inspection. And their dog-training process is more rigorous than you might think:
"In two weeks training with Cruiser and Freedom, [trainers] Ecker and Rincon learned how to hide live hives of bedbugs — little gangs of bugs tucked into vials fitted with mesh covers, so the scent can travel, but the bugs stay put — and work with the dogs in constantly changing scenarios (hiding bugs in high cupboards, in drawers, under rugs and so forth). Like all scent-detecting dogs, Cruiser and Freedom work for food; put another way, they are fed only when they find their target, which keeps them accurate and keen on their jobs."
Okay. We were kind of into the OMG DOGS! cuteness of the whole thing until we got to this “live vials of bedbugs” stuff. It was a foolish thought to begin with, probably; nothing can be cute when bedbugs are involved.
Dogs That Detect Bedbugs [NYT]