Dogs Used To Sniff Out Bed Bugs

SALEM (CBS) — Man’s best friend is a bed bug’s worst enemy.

More K-9’s are being employed to find one of the state’s most invasive pests.

Vic Palermo of Ultra Safe Pest Management is using the dogs for the first time this year. “The best thing about them is that they can see what we can’t see,” said Palermo.

Trained dogs helped sniff out bed bugs in 38 apartments in an elderly housing complex in Salem. “It’s amazing they will stop, they will sit, they will scratch, they point it out just like that,” said Kathleen Burke, a resident in one of the two buildings affected.

Burke did not have any bed bugs in her complex, but since the infestation broke out, she’s thankful the dogs may have stopped the spreading. “They’re man’s best friend, they’re my best friend,” said Burke.

Beagles from A-1 Exterminators of Lynn were responsible for the detections in Salem. The Salem Housing Authority is planning exterminations this week.

Scott Williams, a dog-trainer says the dogs are 97 percent accurate. “We pair up the bugs with whatever it is the reward they enjoy,” said Williams. “We build such a positive association with the smell of the bugs that they’re out there hunting for the bugs.”

One of the dogs Williams is training is Penny, a Jack Russell Terrier rescue dog. Penny has only been training for four weeks but can already detect bed bugs in purses and handbags. Eventually she’ll be able to find them in furniture and luggage.

“The dogs work everyday,” said Palermo. “I do more bed bug work than all the other pests combined.”

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