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Sun 9 Jan 2011 01:37 PM

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UAE pest control firm unveils bed-bug sniffing beagle

The dog is the latest weapon in the fight against bed bug epidemics, says NPC

UAE pest control firm unveils bed-bug sniffing beagle
Bonnie will be used to sniff out infestations in homes, hotels and cinemas across the UAE

A Dubai-based pest control
firm has unveiled what is thought to be the Gulf’s first beagle trained to
sniff out bed-bug infestations.

National Pest Control claims
the beagle, Bonnie, is the latest weapon against a global epidemic of bed bugs
plaguing Dubai homes, hotels and taxis.  

“We
have seen incidents of bed bugs in hotels, cinemas, taxis. People are commuting
and travelling more, mixing more, going to more exotic places, the creatures
are a human parasite and they follow us around,” Sean Baker, managing director
of NPC, said.

“We initially
only had a few problems of bed bugs in the labour camps in the UAE, where
crowds of people live together, but now there are more instances of bed bugs in
villas and apartments where we never used to get them.”

Bedbugs
have made a resurgence in cities in recent years aided, experts believe, by an
increase in global travel. In the US – where New York has been at the heart of
a nationwide epidemic – there has been a 71 percent increase in
infestations since 2001, according to the National Pest Management Association.

In
2009, New York had 4,084 verified infestations, a figure that likely increased last year after a plague of attacks that hit major hotels and stores, including Nike's flagship Manhattan outlet.

The
4 to 5mm creatures hide in beds and other soft furnishings and can be
transferred by clothes and luggage. They are notoriously difficult to
eradicate.

Beagles
are commonly used in cities by pest control agencies to scent out infestations.
A clinical trial undertaken at the University of Florida showed the dogs have
an up to 98 percent accuracy rate.

 “The dogs have far more efficient senses than
the human eye. Sometimes you can check a room and find nothing. Or you find the
bed bugs but you can't find the eggs. A well-trained dog will go straight to
it,” said NPC’s Baker.

“A
lot of the time, guests will assume that bed bugs lie in the bedding and the
sheets in hotels but these are regularly washed. More often the creatures will
nest in the seams of the valances under the bed, which don’t get cleaned as
regularly. We try to work closely with the hotels in putting in scheduled
cleaning regimes to eradicate this sort of thing,” he added.

 

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Richard Pollack 9 years ago

Well-trained and properly handled dogs can be useful tools for detecting bed bugs. Many dogs, however, are not so well trained or handled. If a dog indicates a 'hotspot' for bugs, this should stimulate a search by eye for a bona fide bed bug. Absent that confirmation, it would be a mistake to conclude that the dwelling is infested. No-cost educational information about bed bugs that had been posted for years at the Harvard School of Public Health. Specimens can be submitted for a rapid, confidential, independent and expert evaluation. For even faster service, digital images can be uploaded to a secure online submission site.

Misel Stockton 9 years ago

It's believed that bedbugs are usually little insects which might be difficult to be observed however , it is really wrong since the mature bed bug might be 0.5 cm long which enable it to be easily observed. They are in reality tricky to be seen since they are generally productive in the evening. Plus they also end all their actions once they sense the affected person moves, for instance.