Bedbug Dogs Sniff Out Bloodsuckers

Trained hounds in high demand as infestations rise
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2009 1:49 AM CDT
Pestec technician Carlos I. Agurto walks with Ladybug, a beagle trained to sniff out bedbugs, as they inspect a bed in an apartment in San Francisco.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The resurgence of an old pest has created new jobs for dogs. Bedbug infestations have soared in American cities over the last four years, creating boom times for exterminators, especially those using canny canines trained to detect the tiny suckers. Handlers say the dogs can expertly sniff out infestations and work their way through buildings a lot faster than exterminators looking for visual traces of the bloodsuckers.

"There's a high demand," the head of the Florida Canine Training Academy tells the Los Angeles Times. "These are my most popular dogs." Some entomologists warn, however, that unscrupulous firms use the dogs as a gimmick and use fake alerts from reward-hungry hounds to scare homeowners into unnecessary fumigations.