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Aiken Pest Control Service Uses Pooch to Find Bed Bugs

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3/5/2012 By Amy Bantion - Staff writer -www.aikenstandard.com

Bed-bug-dogSome dogs sniff out illegal substances, while others are trained to find explosives. Wishbone, on the other hand, looks for something that's only slightly larger than a flea.

Wishbone, a perky Jack Russell terrier, and his handler Matt Chaney of Bed Bug Green Solution LLC, based in Charlotte, joined Aiken Pest Control in a quest to find live bedbugs in local homes Wednesday.

"We could search the apartment and find nothing," said Aiken Pest Control Service Manager Jason Graves. "They (the dogs) are so much more accurate than a human."

According to Chaney, the dogs have a 95 percent accuracy rate in finding the critters in comparison with humans who have a 40 percent accuracy rate.

Wishbone scurried through each apartment, his tail wagging excitedly as he searched for the pests. If he found any, Wishbone would get a small treat.

"The concept is he finds the bugs, and he's fed," Chaney said.

Wishbone, who lives with Chaney, is one of three other bedbug and termite hunting canines of Bed Bug Green Solutions. He came from a retired law enforcement officer in Florida who trained him, which typically takes three months to do, Chaney said.

Chaney keeps two things on him while they're on the job - a small bag of kibble and a vial of bedbugs. If Wishbone's luck in finding the nuisance bugs begins to falter, the vial helps him get back on track.

Chaney has been working with Wishbone for about a year and is still flabbergasted by the dog's keen sense of smell.

"It still amazes me," Chaney said. "It's still mind-blowing that he can catch the scent of one bug."

This is the first time that Aiken Pest Control has worked with a bedbug-tracking dog. Graves said, after watching Wishbone on the job, he'd love to see the local business get a few of these bedbug-detecting pooches.

Graves said bedbugs haven't been as prevalent of an issue in the Aiken area as it has been in other places, but they have experienced an increase in calls. In fact, he said, two years ago, they would get maybe one bedbug call a month, but now they are conducting at least one job a week.

A lot of residents who call are trying to stay proactive and on top of the situation before bedbugs become a big problem, which is good because it's not an easy insect to get rid of, Graves said.

"It's not a do-it-yourself pest," he said. "You have to call a professional."

And maybe one day, Aiken Pest Control will bring along a four-legged professional to residents' doors.

"It's been great," Graves said about spending the day with Wishbone and Chaney. "We definitely want the word to spread - it's an excellent service."

Amy Banton is the city beat reporter and has been with the Aiken Standard since May 2010. She is a native of Rustburg, Va., and a graduate of Randolph Macon Woman's College.

 
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