Forget fleas! Bedbug-hunting dogs do big business

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on August 31, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 31 at 10:41 PM

DALLAS - Canines trained to detect bedbugs are doing big business.

English springer spaniels Alfie and Trapper are trained to sniff out the pests.

“There's a pheromone in the bedbugs that the dogs can smell," said Sharon Snow, the dogs' owner.

Just this week the dogs have let their snouts lead the way. They’ve detected bed bugs in more than 150 apartments and homes.

The bugs are everywhere these days. Dallas has seen an increase of about 50 percent in infestation complaints this year.

"There are more cases," Snow said. "They are getting spread more because people don't understand the way the bed bug is spread."

Bedbugs are resilient and can travel on everything.

"It's basically a hitch hiker," Snow said. "It goes on suitcases [to] people, and people spread it to other people."

And once they make their way into your home, they are costly to get rid of. It can cost about $3,000 in pest control.

James Mitchell woke up with bites all over his body about a week ago.

“I had some marks on my side and a lot of itching, and a friend of mine said it looks like bedbugs," Mitchell said.

Alfie and Trapper detected bedbugs in Mitchell's apartment.

Bedbugs leave behind nasty clues, but it's hard to find the source. They can hide in walls, furniture or decorations.

Snow said dogs are about 97 percent accurate finding the bugs, while humans are about 30 percent accurate.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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