New Business Will Use Dogs To Sniff Out Bed Bugs

OCEAN CITY – A new business has come to town to sniff out bed bugs quick and easy when compared to traditional styles of detection.

Rona Schneck, a Berlin fire fighter, and Andrea Peterson, a property manager, teamed up and started Coastal K-9 Detection Services. The business offers canine bed bug detection service that strives to assist both property owners and business owners to avoid costly bed bug infestations.

“Because we live and work in this community, we don’t want to see the community affected by bed bug infestations like what is happening in New York,” Peterson said. “We’re hoping by bringing the dog in we can help the pest companies and business owners detect before we have big infestations that spread from condo to condo or from hotel room to hotel room.”

According to Coastal K-9 Detection Service’s website, a canine’s sense of smell is said to be a thousand times more sensitive than that of humans. A dog has more than 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose, while humans have only five million. Traditional bedbug detection methods can be very time consuming and labor intensive. Certified Bed Bug Canines generate quicker and more accurate results.

A canine inspection is 95 percent to 98 percent accurate for detection, where as a human visibility inspection is 28 percent to 30 percent accurate. A canine can inspect a room within a matter of minutes where as a human team can take over an hour. A canine inspection is not only more accurate, but will be less costly due to the decreased inspection time.

Coastal K-9 currently has one dog, Ford, trained and is in the process of training another. Ford is a Fox Red Labrador who has been trained professionally by Certified Master Trainer Andy Hanellin. Ford is able to differ between live bed bugs and viable eggs from shed skin and excrement.

Peterson explained that Ford is trained daily to insure his accuracy.

“When we go into a house, we’re not going to know were the bed bugs are either so we need to be confident that when he indicates us that there are live bed bugs that he is accurate so we don’t tell people they have bed bugs and they really don’t,” Peterson said.

Ford completes an hour of training every day. His training involves searching out different vials of bed bugs. Once he seeks out a vial of live bed bugs, he alerts the handler by sitting down and looking at the spot by pointing with his nose.

Peterson became concerned with bud bug infestation once the issues stating to occur up north in the New York area.

“A lot of our renters come from up north so I started doing some research to know about bed bug detection and started taking classes and becoming certified so I could do it for my properties,” Peterson said.

Once Peterson learned about dog detection, it sparked an idea for the new business. She partnered up with Schneck, who is already experienced with handling dogs by training German Shepherds in personal protection.

Coastal K-9 Detection Services offers their business to residential and commercial properties. The business is up and running and they have already been working with different pest companies.

“There are already bed bugs in the area,” Peterson said. “But we don’t expect to get busy until the summer season when people start coming down.”

The business is also offering their service to local shelters, Peterson said, “Those are places because of the transient nature and people coming in and out we are going to offer that service free of charge for community service.”