Structural Pest Control is a complex industry. There are many tools, equipment, and of course the power of knowledge that is included as a professional. One of the tools is the use of canines. Canines are very beneficial in every aspect, especially in hunting down bedbugs. Our company in conjunction with Texas A&M Residence Life contracts canines on campus to emphasize a proper detection of these detrimental insects on a yearly basis to ensure complete control. This year Penny and Randy Lee, of Randy Lee Inspections Inc. (see figure 1) have been gracious enough to conduct thorough inspections with their canine named Captain. One of the aspects of using a canine for tasks of this magnitude is their keen sense of smell which is 10,000 times stronger than a human. When a consumer is dealing with an invasive insect, detection is very important for a fast and cost effective method. Bedbugs are nocturnal insects that are very elusive to the human eye which makes the hunt intriguing. Most patrons comprehend bedbugs only exist on or near beds alone, which is not the case. Bedbugs can be found in any human environment including furniture, box springs, baseboards, furniture crevices, shipping containers, and packaging, even in vehicles. With the use of canines, these areas can be identified in a more timely manner. Canines can detect all life stages which makes eradication more effective. As part of an IPM program the company implements, early detection is very important. As the canine inspects the units the handler will notice a change in behavior which indicates a possible infestation (see figure 2). When Captain indicates possible bedbug activity, he sits and points with his muzzle. These areas are documented and are evaluated in-depth through further inspection. Monitors may be used as a precaution when necessary. Early detection means a less extensive treatment measure and less likely to transfer bedbugs. In conclusion, our department utilizes the best detection methods when dealing with an insect that is becoming a national staple as a nuisance. We are proud, as a department, to have a positive impact in the company’s dedication to customer service.

by Patricia Estes

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