Dogs becoming big part of bedbug battle

Published: Apr. 24, 2017 at 5:55 PM EDT
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Canines have become well known for their ability to sniff out things like drugs and bombs, and now, pest control is going to the dogs.

Willie is a Corgi-Chihuahua mix who was picked up at the animal shelter in Jackson County Michigan, and has since become a highly trained weapon in the war on bedbugs. Today, during a demonstration at the Niles Senior Center Willie repeatedly found a vial of bedbugs hidden by his trainer in various chair cushions.

“He has sniffed out just a single bug before. He’s found just a small cluster of eggs with no adult bedbugs so, yes, he can head it off long before it becomes a problem,” said Monica Gruss, Willie’s trainer for Rose Pest Solutions.

Simply put, Willie can do the kind of things his human counterparts in pest control can’t.

“When we have a new infestation, I can’t find it,” said Mike Heskett with Rose Pest Solutions. “What it allows is, for you to detect them before they get out of control which is what it’s all about—pest ‘control.’

It’s not the kind of pest control that comes cheap. Willie spent six months training in Florida at a cost of some $20,000, yet the company that started with one dog about five years ago now has nine. They work like dogs, inspecting everything from college dorms, to nursing homes, to hotels and hospitals.

“It's amazing, I mean, it’s the neatest job, you're providing a service that's helping people stay healthy,” said Monica Gruss.