Meet Hunter and Radar: Our Favorite Canine Bed Bug Specialists
December 12, 2014
Meet the newest (and cutest) members of the Preferred Pest Control team: Hunter and Radar! Our canine friends detect bed bugs quicker and more efficient than humans as bed bug infestations continue to rise.
Meet Hunter and Radar
Radar is a 5-year-old, Beagle mix and has been part of the Preferred Pest team for the last four years. After his trainer had rescued him from a shelter in Florida, Radar became a NESDCA certified bed bug tracker. Hunter, the team rookie, started six months ago and is also NESDCA certified. He is a 2-year-old purebred Beagle from Kansas City and typically wins the "cute contest" between the two dogs.
As expected, Radar is very laid back compared to the always energetic Hunter. While Radar and Hunter get along great now, the 18 pound veteran showed a twinge of jealousy toward the 12 pound puppy when Hunter was first brought onto the team.
Why are Hunter and Radar so accurate?
Beagles are scenthounds, known for their keen sense of smell to lead them through life. With a whopping 220 million scent receptors, Beagles are born to hunt. Their noses are 1000 times more sensitive than humans, making them ideal bed bug hunters. Hunter and Radar boast over a 95 percent accuracy rate in finding live bed bugs, compared to humans detecting them at a mere 50 percent. These canines have such an acute sense of smell; they can detect as little as one live egg!
How do Hunter and Radar find bed bugs?
In as little as two minutes, Hunter and Radar can inspect an entire hotel room. After searching mattresses, bedding, curtains, carpet, furniture and shelves, these beagles will indicate the finding of bed bugs. Radar signals us by pawing the floor in front of him whereas Hunter sits down after discovering bed bugs. Both canines are rewarded with a treat after a successful find. Business and home owners love that Hunter and Radar don't have to overturn beds and furniture or disassemble shelves and dressers to hunt for bed bugs.
How are Hunter and Radar trained?
Beagles begin training to detect bed bugs when they are about one year of age. The training process is long and can take around 800 hours for a Beagle to become ready for the certification evaluation. Each canine is trained to detect different stages of bed bugs, including dead bugs, live bugs, live eggs, egg casings, skin and blood.
The trainer will set up different containers filled with bed bugs of various stages for the Beagle to sniff. When the canine can distinguish the difference in smells, the containers are hidden around the room for the puppies in training to find. They are then rewarded with treats after determining the correct container filled with living bed bugs.
It is important for bed bug sniffers to be able to identify the difference between live bugs and dead bugs because dead bugs may mean the infestation is no longer a threat, causing unnecessary expenses for business and home owners.
Radar and Hunter are certified by the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association (NESDCA). In order to get certified, Hunter and Radar completed a series of tests, identifying bed bugs in residential dwellings, warehouses, office buildings, multi-room interiors, schools, hotels and motels. Accompanied by the handler, each dog has 20 minutes to locate bed bugs in four different types of search areas. If successful, the canine and handler are rewarded with a NESDCA certification.
The handler always accompanies Hunter and Radar. As part of the NESDCA certification, if the dog and handler are separated, the canine is no longer certified as a bed bug detector.
What is NESDCA?
NESDCA is an organization that certifies dogs for pest detection. This one of a kind organization is made up of Pest Control Owners and Operators to ensure canines uphold the highest standards for detecting pests.
Call the Experts!
Hunter and Radar have brought an abundance of energy and joy to the Preferred Pest Control team. They have mastered the skills it takes to detect bed bugs at the source. Let Hunter and Radar help you! Schedule an appointment by calling (515) 276-7277 or visit us online.