Bingo, the bed bug dog and I at New England Canine Detectives recently inspected a large apartment building with many elderly residents. There had been no complaint about bugs. This was a regularly scheduled inspection. In one of the apartments Bingo alerted on the bed. When the sheets were pulled back it revealed a large cluster of bed bugs about the size of a diner plate. The elderly man had never said anything about being bitten. Is it possible he didn’t know ? This is how bed bugs can multiply rapidly without detection. All it takes is either no reaction to the bites or no reporting of the bites. Apartment managers and owners could save themselves a lot of trouble with routine inspections.
Beware of bed bug detection dogs who are owned by pest control companies. Most pest control companies are honest and reliable. However, there is a real potential for a conflict of interest when the dog is also owned by the company that stands to profit from an alert. Also some unreliable companies will use different handlers who may or may not be properly certified as a team with the dog they are working with. Canine scent detection for finding bed bugs is more reliable from an independent dog handler team. In this situation there is no conflict of interest. The handler will get paid regardless of the outcome and does not depend on treatment fees to support his business. Here at New England Canine Detectives Bingo and I provide a scent detection service that is independent from any pest control company. We are certified by the National Entomological Scent Detection Canine Association. There are several teams across New England who are also working independently to give you an option that is free from any conflict of interest.
Sometimes the unexplained bites are just not bed bugs. To most people this would be good news. This frantic women just wanted the culprit identified. I understand why she called us at New England Canine Detectives. She had multiple bites all over her body. She had torn her bed room apart. She encased her bed in plastic.. Duct tape was everywhere. This was a three story home that she basically ripped apart. Bingo and I searched the home from top to bottom and found nothing. Needless to say, she was very disappointed. At least a positive ID of the bug would give her a known target to fight. As we were leaving I noticed a small bug on my hand. It did’t take long to ID the bug. It was a flea. I reported this to the woman, who had no pets, and she told me she was relieved to know what was eating her alive. Even though she had no pets she had a neighbor who visited with his dog.
Most people don’t walk around thinking about bed bugs. Certain precautions are appropriate when traveling and in public places.However, because of the very nature of these bugs it is impossible to plan for every possibility. One woman found this out recently. She traveled to New York to visit friends. She drove her own car, stayed with her friend who had no reason to even suspect bed bugs. The only risky behavior was the movie they both attended. She got no bites that she knows of while staying with her friend. Over a week later she woke up with multiple bites. That’s where Bingo and I from New England Canine Detectives got involved. We searched the house and sure enough her suitcase was hit number one along with her nightstand and bed. The visual inspection of the suitcase revealed the source of entry into the house. Who knew that the price of that movie had hidden costs.
New England Canine Detectives is a company that detects bed bugs by using a dog, named Bingo, a beagle who has been extensively trained for this type of scent detection. Bingo and his handler are certified annually by NESDCA (National Entomological Scent Detection Canine Association). People often ask how accurate are scent detection dogs? I can not speak for all dog and handlers teams. I can only tell you our experience. Recently Bingo and I were called to an apartment complex in MA. The property manager had three men following us around. In one particular apartment these men had previously visited, and inspected the woman’s bed from top to bottom. They were certain that there would be no alerts in this apartment. When Bingo and I started our search Bingo was pulling toward the bed and began to alert on it immediately. All three men crowded around the bed and started to take it apart in their search for bugs. Bingo and I stood aside and watched. They carefully removed the bedding as they had done before that same morning. Next they ripped the box spring covering off. They still could not find any evidence of bed bugs. There was no fecal staining, no cast skins and no bugs to be seen. Besides all this the woman was not complaining of any bites. They were simply checking her apartment because of her proximity to an apartment that had a bed bug problem. When it looked like Bingo had led them down the wrong path, I spotted a dark spot on the under side of the mattress along the piping. Sure enough it was one adult bed bug. Needless to say these men were amazed at the accuracy and speed of canine detection.
Be very careful about what you bring into your house.. Recently we ( Bingo and I from New England Canine Detectives) were called to a home in central Massachusetts. They had more than suspicions about bed bugs. They saw them in all their developmental stages on their bed frame. Now they had not engaged in any obvious risky behavior, like traveling and staying in motels, or having quests sleep over. They had not even been to the movies. So how did they get bed bugs? They went shopping and picked up a storage unit for clothes. Now they did not shop at a second hand store. However the particular item that they picked up was in a previously opened box. After they found the bed bugs they inspected the box and found bed bug eggs. A box on the shelf that looks like it might have been opened probably has been opened. Some one may have brought it home before you and then returned it. You never know what else it might contain. Bingo and I were there to find out where the bugs were hiding, after the bed was removed. Needless to say the bugs had spread beyond the bed, and further action was necessary. It’s unfortunate that we have to be so careful, but these bugs are real, and spread so easily right under our nose.
When someone knows that they have bed bugs,they just want them to be gone. When it’s your elderly, legally blind mother, who lives in an apartment complex, and is covered in bites ,you are desperate to fix the situation. The husband and wife lived in a different state from her mother, but had come to visit. They were appalled to see the condition of this woman’s skin. As the daughter was sitting there in the woman’s living room she noticed a bug walk across the floor. That is when the all out search began. They tore the place apart and were horrified to discover hundreds of bed bugs in this tiny one bedroom apartment. The bed bugs were even in the woman’s file cabinet between the pages. Being almost blind she had not seen any bugs herself. She was complaining about a rash but that was all she knew. Needless to say the building manager called in a pest control company. The place was treated and it would be nice to say that the problem was gone. One month later the daughter called New England Canine Detectives because her mother’s rash was coming back. Sure enough when Bingo and I inspected the apartment he alerted on some old pocketbooks that were behind the bedroom door. Bed bugs want to survive just like everything else that is living. When there is a threat to survival they will hide away from danger if possible. The infestation was not as extensive, however one treatment was certainly not enough.
The woman on the phone had a take charge voice and manner. She knew what she wanted and was prepared to do whatever it took to accomplish her goal. Her goal was to move from one house to another house several towns away. She wanted to do this bed bug free. She did not have bed bugs and didn’t want to chance getting them from the process of moving. Her husband had several medical conditions that made her very fearful of the possibility that he could get bit by bed bugs. She called us at New England Canine Detectives so we could inspect the pod she had sitting in her driveway. The pod was there, so she could start to empty her present house, in preparation for the move. Bingo and I had just entered the pod, when he alerted on the hardware that held the door in place. Needless to say, what could have been seen as her unnecessary worry, was a timely save. She had been ready to fill the pod with her belongings the next day. Instead she called the pod company and asked them to remove it from her driveway as soon as possible. After this experience she had us inspect the moving truck she was using, and the house she was moving into. Both of these checked out okay. It pays to be cautious. If she hadn’t found the problem with the pod she could have infested her new home with bed bugs. That would have been a nightmare!
New England Canine Detectives gets many calls, and as you can imagine most callers are upset. However this woman was also angry. Her daughter had moved in with her boy friend, and they had stayed no more than two nights in the apartment when they discovered that the apartment was crawling with bed bugs. Her daughter was covered in bites. They moved all their furniture on to the back of a pickup truck. The daughter came home to mom, because there was no place else to go. When she came home she only brought her laundry. Her mother wanted her home checked to make sure that the daughter had not brought bed bugs into her house. Bingo and I inspected the house and there were no alerts made. The woman breathed a sigh of relief. As we were leaving the boy friend drove up with the pickup full of their furniture. They asked if we would inspect the furniture. Now this pickup was stuffed with furniture, so there was no way to walk around the items. The boy friend started carrying the furniture into the house that we had just inspected. I advised him against such a move. He proceeded anyway. Once everything was in the house we re-inspected the living room where everything was placed. I have never seen Bingo get quite so excited. He alerted to the bed frame, the dresser, the futon, and even to a picture that had been over the bed. I thought the mother was going to blow a gasket. She, and the daughter, and the boy friend moved at record speed to get everything out of the house as soon as possible. On the way out they asked us to inspect the mattress, that they had leaning up against the pickup truck. So we walked by the mattress and Bingo started pulling toward it in an effort to hurry up and make his alert to the presence of live bed bug odor. We left the area as soon as possible because the atmosphere among the people was volatile.
It’s a fact, that not all people react to the bite of the bed bug. This can be especially troublesome if you are also blind. Bingo, the bed bug dog, and myself, his handler, from New England Canine Detectives were called to just such a situation. An adult male, and his seeing eye dog, lived with his parents in a large home in the Berkshires of Ma. The young man was blind from birth, but he was a productive member of the work force, in a job that required frequent travel. While he was away on one of his trips his mother was changing the sheets on his bed when she discovered, to her horror, bed bugs in the screws on the frame of the bed. The surrounding wooden frame was also spotted with bed bug fecal stains. Her son had never mentioned anything about bites or itching. Her immediate question was ” have they spread elsewhere in the house”? So Bingo and I went to inspect the home. Our findings indicated that the bugs were also in the box spring and an adjacent dresser. The rest of the house checked out okay. So even though there were bed bugs in the home, the mother was relieved that her son’s room was the only one involved. If it were not for his mother changing his sheets he may not have known for a very long time that he was feeding a colony of bed bugs.