Trained dogs sniff out drugs in schools, detect bombs in airports, and even chase geese away from golf courses, but now trainers are focusing their efforts on another type of smart canine: bedbug-detection dogs.
Today, L.A. Times reporter Bob Drogin wrote about the hard-working animals who sniff out infestations of real-life bedbugs -- those tiny, blood-sucking pests that leave itchy, painful welts -- in apartment buildings, hotels and office buildings so people really can sleep tight. This pest problem has become more than just a childhood scare tactic: Bedbugs are very real.
Many pest-control companies are now purchasing the dogs from two main trainers in Florida, who sell the dogs for up to $9,500 each. The dogs receive treat rewards whenever they alert for bedbugs, so experts caution against some exterminators whose dogs report false alarms, allowing the company to tack on extra charges.
We hope that this means the old adage will soon become a meaningless good-night saying once again.
-- Kelsey Ramos
Photo: Sara, a lab trained to hunt bedbugs, poses after checking an apartment in Jersey City, N.J. Credit: Michael Nagle / For The Times