The New Jersey Pest Management Association's 64th annual Clinic featured a contest pitting humans versus dogs in a race to find bed bugs.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Both the bed bug-sniffing dog and the human pest management technicians found the bed bugs in approximately the same time, according to Len Douglen, executive director of the New Jersey Pest Management Association, sponsor of A “Doggone Bed Bug Contest.”
Pitting a team of humans versus the canines was part of the 64th annual Clinic sponsored by the New Jersey Pest Management Association; a full day of seminars for pest management professionals.
Douglen said he was not surprised that technicians, trained to identify the likely places bed bugs are found, would score as well as “Scout” the bed bug-sniffing dog when it came to finding where a small cache of the tiny creatures were hidden.
The contest was conducted in Hickman Hall on the Cook College campus of Rutgers, the State University, New Brunswick. Throughout the day, owners and technicians from more than three hundred firms attended a series of seminars by some of the nation’s leading authorities on various insect and rodent pest problems.
Dr. Dini Miller of Virginia Tech, an entomologist, conducted a seminar on bed bugs. “At the turn of the 20th century, bed bugs were really common. However, in the 1940s and 1950s, they were nearly eradicated due to the use of DDT.”
“One of the reasons Dr. Miller was invited to address our members,” said Douglen, “is that, in many cases, access to the one or two pesticides registered for use against bed bugs is limited. Pest management professionals are eager to be updated on the newer techniques being developed to eliminate an infestation.”
Miller notes that “More recently high tech vacuums, steamers, heaters, dry ice machines, dissolvable laundry bags, mattress encasements, and special detection tools are being used or recommended by pest management companies.”
Bed bugs pose a challenge because, as Dr. Miller pointed out, they “aggregate in cracks and crevices all day digesting food until they become hungry between 12 AM and 5 AM. They are stimulated by an increase in carbon dioxide that is exhaled as people sleep during the night. When feeding, bed bugs look for capillary space that allows the blood to flow rapidly and may probe the skin several times before feeding.”
“They feed for five to ten minutes, after which they leave the host to aggregate and reproduce. They usually feed every five to ten days.” Bites can cause a rash and even lead to a secondary infection, but there are no known serious health threats from bed bugs.
“The public can take comfort in knowing that pest management professionals are always seeking the newest and best technologies to address this and all other challenges involved in the elimination of the wide range of pests that spread disease or cause millions in property damage.”