4-legged friend joins fight against bedbugs

October 24, 2010

Scout is a certified bedbug detection dog who's been very busy lately as those creepy crawlers are found more and more in hotels, movie theatres and homes.

"They don't transmit diseases, they don't fly or jump, but they have everybody really freaking out," Dou Moore of North American Bedbug Hunters.

And that's where Scout and his owner come in.

Operating a company called the North American Bedbug Hunters out of Titusville, handler Doug Moore and his highly trained beagle go to work.

"We are working together as a team. I lead him around the room and he signals to me when he picks up the presence of the odor of the live bedbugs or bedbug eggs by scratching at the location where he picks up the scent," Moore said.

Scout's motivation is food. It's his reward for finding the bedbugs and his nose can detect them whether they're nymphs, eggs or full-grown bugs.

"The accuracy of the dogs trained by this protocol is 97.5%," Moore said.

The sign on the car comes off because people are embarrassed about having bedbugs, but Doug thinks there shouldn't be a stigma.

"It's not related to dirtiness, it's more related to clutter and also traveling. That's why we're seeing a preponderance of bedbug infestation because they are great hitchhikers and they'll travel home with you no matter what your social status is," Moore said.

Moore says it doesn't matter whether you live in a fancy home or public housing.

Because bedbugs are increasingly resistant to pesticides, Moore expects he and Scout will be busy for a long time.

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