Sniffing out bed bugs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sniffing out bed bugs


At one time bed bugs were almost eliminated in the United States, but they're back with a vengeance and can be found in all 50 states including Iowa.

Now one local pest control agency has hired a new employee specifically to take on the tiny bug.

Charlie is a Jack Russell Terrier and don't let his small size fool you, because this little guy has the heart and nose of a hound dog. His mission is to hunt out bed bugs.

"He's very good at finding bugs. He also likes to find a little food. He is food driven, that's how they train him. He's motivated by food and he's just an enjoyable dog to have around. He keeps me in stitches," said his handler, Kathie Marold.

Charlie works for Aable Pest Control in Waterloo. The price tag for a pooch that can sniff out bed bugs is not cheap. President of Aable Pest Control, Mike Price says Charlie was worth the investment.

"Charlie cost $7,000 and of course there is more of an investment than that because now we have a handler that takes care of the dog and of course we've got a good veterinarian in Cedar Rapids that takes care of the dog. We also have insurance on the dog," said Price.

The bed bug epidemic exploded during the past couple of years which has kept pest control specialists very busy. With the recent rise in bed bugs, Charlie's job is secure.

"There's smaller companies of course that won't be involved in that, but most large companies that I know of around the country have already invested in dogs and some have two or three dogs at this point in bigger populated areas to keep up with demand," said Price.

Charlie has been with Aable Pest Control since mid-March and has only been on about a dozen jobs.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the best way to prevent getting bed bugs is to avoid bringing them into your home in the first place. They suggest checking your luggage and clothing carefully after you travel, looking for bed bugs and their droppings. They also suggest you carefully examine any secondhand furniture, bedding, or beds before bringing them into your home.

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