(Memphis) This little bug will make your skin crawl, especially if you find one in your home.
Bed bugs are back in a big way, so pest control companies are bringing in bed-bug-sniffing beagles.
Meet Shamu. She has a killer nose for tracking these bugs, and she’s busy.
Shane James of James Pest Control said, “Five years ago if you asked me about bed bugs in the Mid-South, I’d say, ‘Yeah we have a couple cases here and there,’ but now we have cases everyday.”
James Pest Control created a mock bedroom at its headquarters, where it hides bed bugs all over the room for Shamu to find.
She sniffs them out, and when she starts digging with both paws, that’s how you know she’s on the scent.
With every positive ID, she gets a treat.
Bed bugs started their comeback in the early 2000s in major cities like New York and Chicago, and they hitch-hiked their way back to the Mid-South on travelers.
Hotels and college campuses are hot spots for these bugs, but they’re also found in hospitals.
James said, “Cleanliness does not affect these bugs. You can bring these things anywhere.”
If you’re wondering how a bed bug might have gotten in your house, your suitcase may be the culprit. They crawl in in hotels and airplanes, and when they get back, they make themselves at home.
They like to live in couches and bedroom furniture, because they crawl on you and bite while you’re asleep, then crawl back into the furniture during the day.
Shamu can sniff out a home in a matter of hours, but her fee is nothing to sniff at – her services can cost up to $500.
James said, “She can locate bed bugs a lot quicker than we can as humans because we have to totally disassemble things, and some things we can’t. Like clock radios where bed bugs have been found in.”
Pest control teams say there is no magic wand you can waive to be clear of bed bugs. They suggest checking your home every time you get back from a trip and getting bed bug covers, because they make them easier to spot.