Bed bug-sniffing dogs are the latest weapon in the bed bug-fighting arsenal. But how do you know whether “Killer” really knows his stuff? If you’re considering hiring a “bed bug dog,” exercise a little caution and common sense.
The average dog has 200 to 250 million scent receptors in its nose; a man has only 5 million. A dog’s nasal membranes cover about 7 square meters, compared to a human’s puny half meter. A dog’s scenting ability is so sensitive it can smell things that can’t be detected by the most sensitive scientific instruments. Its sensitivity to odors is 10 to 100 times greater than man’s, depending on the dog and its training.
And that’s the key. Any dog can be billed as a bed bug hunter and how would we nose-challenged humans know the difference? The National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association has begun certifying bed bug dogs. Before you hire, ask:
- Is the dog certified?
- Can it differentiate between living and dead bugs?
- Can it sniff out eggs?
- How are the dog’s findings validated?
Remember, finding bed bugs is just the first step. Exterminating them is what’s important.
In its continuing attack on invading bed bugs, New York City will sponsor its third and final Bed Bug Seminar on Wednesday, March 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hope Gardens Senior Center located at 195 Linden Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn. To reserve a space and for more information, call the Department of Housing Preservation and Development at 212-863-8830. Spanish translation will be provided. The program will include:
- How to recognize bed bugs.
- How to prevent bed bug infestations.
- How to eliminate bed bugs from your home.
“Bed bugs do not discriminate and we must do everything we can to stop the spread of the epidemic in our city,” said Council Member Miguel Martinez.
Bed bug complaints have increased across all of New York’s boroughs. Last year the city logged 6,889 infestation complaints and cited 2,008 building owners. Among the worst hit areas are Bushwick, Astoria, Long Island City, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Central Harlem.
We urge you to attend this city-sponsored bed bug seminar or visit our website to learn more about bed bugs. Stern Environmental now offers the chemical-free, green Cryonite system, the only treatment that kills adult bugs, larva and eggs simultaneously. If you get bed bugs, call Stern immediately. We are the Bed Bug Experts!
Bed bugs are nasty little hitchhikers who will cadge a ride into your home on clothing, used furniture, cardboard boxes, luggage — anything they’ve come in contact with. You can pick them up at a hotel on your next business trip. You can get them from a cab or an airplane seat that was just used by an infested person. So how do you keep them from getting into your home and making your life miserable? Take these steps to help keep your home bed bug-free:
- Don’t bring an old mattress, box springs, sofa, carpeting or other secondhand items into your home. If you see it on the street, leave it there.
- When you check into a hotel, pull back the bedding. Inspect the mattress seams and headboard area. If you find tiny black specks, ask for another room or change hotels. Make sure your new room is not directly above or below the infested room; that’s the first place bed bugs will spread.
- When traveling, put your suitcase on a rack, not the floor. Don’t put it on the bed where bed bugs might crawl in. When you get home, unpack away from your bed and don’t store your suitcase in the bedroom. If you use a soft carryall, give it a quick spin in a hot dryer.
If you get bed bugs, your first urge will be to panic and throw out your bed and everything on it! That’s exactly what you shouldn’t do. Dragging all that stuff through your house on the way to the dumpster will just spread the problem.
The best thing you can do is leave your bed intact and immediately call in the pros. Bed bugs aren’t something you can kill with a can of Raid, but there are some steps you can take that will help get rid of the nasty critters:
- Vacuum infested areas. Immediately double bag the used vacuum bag in plastic and dispose of it outside.
- Wash and dry infested bedding and clothing on HOT settings. A spin in a hot dryer should kill any bugs that live through the wash cycle.
- Use a commercial steamer to steam clean your carpets, sofas and chairs. Richard Cooper, co-author of Bed Bug Handbook, says, “Heat is the single easiest way to destroy bed bugs.” Of course, he wrote his book before Cyronite was introduced in the U.S. Cryonite is an even more effective way to kill bed bugs by freezing them.
- Clean up the clutter to remove potential hiding places and allow professional products to reach and kill all the bugs.
- Invest in specially designed bed bug-proof mattress and box spring encasements.