Newcastle Dog Trainer Trains Dogs To Find Bed Bugs

“What I have is basically a system of sending trained dogs out to check a premises and detect where bugs are. We are invited by the owner to check the premises. A pest control officer then visits and exterminates the bugs identified by the dog trained to signal.  We then do a follow up visit and the dogs are trained to recognise live as well as dead bed bugs. [caption id="attachment_23988" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Bill Thompson at work training 18-month old Belle, a new bed bug sniffer dog."][/caption] “Many people may have bed bugs and do not even know about it. They can easily infest  a home especially after you have been travelling abroad. I came across one case recently where a lorry cab became infested with them and had to be stopped on its way into Northern Ireland at the port. “We have been properly  accredited by Falcok9 to perform this specialist work. This US company is a leader in America  and its founder Andrew Falco regularly talks to groups of environmental health officers of up tp 400 at conferences and training sessions. He has visited me several times here in Northern Ireland and has certified my dogs on flying visits. It takes from 9-12 weeks to train a dog usually. These dogs are carefully selected for their ability to cope with the training and follow up work. Basically there is not one type of dog that stands out as being better than the other. It is up to individual aptitude.” Bed bugs or their eggs can lodge themselves in your clothes and luggage. They have even been traced to specific sites such as a well used chair is a public building. And they are on the increase in Northern Ireland. [caption id="attachment_23992" align="alignright" width="202" caption="A bed bug feeding on human blood."][/caption] “Our plan is to work with the hotel and B&B sector particularly and screen premises for them. Already we have spoken with the NITB who see the benefits of our service. Some people have developed allergies from being bitten by bed bugs, and they can cause skin rashes even people can develop an anxiety about them and this affects their mental wellbeing. So bed bugs are definitely bad news.” Check out: What are bedbugs: [caption id="attachment_23993" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="A comtainer used to keep the bed bugs, and pictured is the fine mesh that the bed bugs feed through."][/caption] “In my dog training programme, I have to keep a couple of vials of live bed bugs to help train my dogs. They are safely secured in containers, but they do have to ‘feed’ every 60 days at least. When they are hungry they become very active and you know when they need to be topped up. As they only feed on fresh animal blood, I have a system set up where they draw some blood from my forearm over a few minutes. They feed through a fine mesh netting around the top of the container. They cannot escape. There is no health risk to myself… I only feel a warm, irritation as they draw the blood.” Bill is optimistic that this new development in bed bug detection will grow in years to come. He said that it can work as a very effective prevention such as in sweeping aircraft, airports, boats, etc and stopping the further spead of bed bugs before they get into Northern Ireland. In the summer especially, it is an ideal time for bed bugs with an increased flow of travellers and warmer conditions. Also, Bill Thompson trains dogs as medical assistance dogs to help people with specific illnesses such as diabetes and also as bio-detection sniffers that can smell out the presence of food nasties such as salmonella which can cause widespread serious illness. Again, he said, “If dogs were trained up they could check over in-coming imported consignments of food at docks and airports and identify the problem products before they reach the wider public.” (See this earlier article in Down News below about Bill Thompson’s work on medical assistance dogs.)]]>