Assured Environments, New York’s largest pest management firm, has noticed a significant increase in bed bug infestations during the months this summer, likely due to the incredibly warm weather being experienced around the country this summer. At the same time, the company is performing a growing number of bed bug inspections and clearing a tremendous amount of space with its specialized K9 Unit.
In June, Assured Environments’ specially-trained dogs cleared more than 6.41 million square feet of space as “bed bug free.” In July, the company’s K9s cleared more than 4.27 million square feet of space, bringing this year’s total to more than 29.39 million square feet. Assured Environments’ K9 teams have inspected a variety of commercial and residential properties, including private homes, hotels, offices, retail businesses, health care facilities, schools and even vehicles.
Assured Environments’ Sue Lavoie – one of the few in-house K9 master trainers in the industry – explains how “getting regular K9 inspections is an essential step to combating annoying bed bugs. K9s can clear large areas in a fraction of the time it takes to complete a human inspection—and with a higher degree of accuracy.” In fact, university studies indicate that trained dogs can sniff out bed bugs with a 97 percent accuracy rate. That’s important, given the increasing number of bed bugs that are infiltrating the area. Bed bugs are more comfortable in warmer weather, so with this heat wave it is important to stay ahead of them.
Utilizing bed bug K9s is an environmentally-friendly process that complements Assured Environments’ commitment to using eco-conscious protocols. “It relies strictly on dogs applying their scent-detection ability to locate bed bugs that even the most highly-trained pest control technicians can’t find through visual inspection. And K9 inspections can significantly reduce the expense of bed bug treatment and remediation,” says Lavoie. “If you discover bed bugs early on before it becomes an infestation it will be easier and less costly to treat than a full-blown infestation.”
However, Lavoie emphasizes that the purpose of Assured Environments’ K9 inspections isn’t to promote its bed bug treatment services. The inspections are designed to give customers the comfort of knowing their premises has been thoroughly checked and is free of bed bugs. Some clients get regular inspections on a weekly basis, others call in on occasion, but the assurance is always the end result. In fact, even with the more than 29 million square feet searched by Assured Environments’ K9s, the company only serviced 1.76 million square feet of space with a bed bug treatment. Whenever bed bugs are detected, clients have the convenience of getting the problem resolved by the same company, which ultimately saves them time and money.
The use of K9s for scent detection is common practice in many fields. For example, law enforcement and search and rescue teams often use canines to find narcotics, explosives and lost people. Bed bugs are experts at hiding, which can make them difficult to detect without Assured Environments’ highly-trained handlers and K9s. Here’s how their process works: The company’s bed bug K9s undergo extensive preparation that begins with approximately three months of “target scent” training. After the initial training, each dog is paired with a handler and continues to receive daily instruction from the master trainer for one to two additional months.
All of Assured Environments’ K9/handler teams participate in weekly in-service training sessions. This training is designed to meet and exceed the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and local New York and New Jersey state PMA standards for scent-detecting K9s. To satisfy these high standards, each K9 and its handler must function cohesively in order to work as an effective team. The dogs train, work and go home each night with their handler, establishing a true bond and trust between the two, which makes the team operate more cohesively and effectively when providing bed bug detection services. Assured Environments provides K9 inspection services to clients throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
For more information about Assured Environments’ K9 inspections and other professional services, call the New York headquarters at 800-670-7037.