New York’s largest pest control company, Assured Environments, has expanded its special K9 division with a new addition: Dawn, an energetic black Labrador.

Dawn, who is 2 years old, loves people, cats, swimming, riding in cars and playing fetch with anyone who will play with her. “She is extremely energetic and doesn’t stop trying to play – to her, working is just as fun as playing,” says master trainer and handler Sue Lavoie, who works with Dawn. Dawn eats healthy organic food and trains every day and just like all Labs, works off of scents in the air, unlike beagles that follow scents from the ground. This affords her the opportunity to work “off-leash,” which is advantageous and efficient for sniffing and searching aisles of movie theater seats and other tight spaces. All dogs being trained to find a scent are given rewards for good work, typically a treat. However, Dawn’s reward is a towel. This unique reward comes with an advantage: the towel can be scented to smell like bed bugs. This way, when she searches for bed bugs she actually thinks she is playing a game and looking for the ‘scented towel’.

Dawn has been working with Assured Environments for the past two weeks. Her addition is helping the company continue the growth of its K9 division and continue its quest to clear as much space as possible as “bed bug free.” In fact, the company’s K9 unit has cleared more than 30 million square feet so far this year. Its highly-trained K9 teams have completed inspections on a variety of commercial and residential properties, including private homes, hotels, offices, retail businesses, health care facilities, schools and even automobiles.

Assured Environments has been using bed bug-detecting dogs as part of its environmentally-conscious practices since 2007. The first dog in the division was Max, a beagle that has since retired. Another long term member of the unit was Summer, a German Shepherd that only recently retired in February. Today, the company has five K9s and five handlers that take care of and train their assigned dog. In addition to Dawn, there is Bugsy, a beagle/Jack Russell Terrier mix and three beagles: Mandy, Boomer and Riley. “Our team works around the clock seven days a week, making on average five to six stops per day,” explains Lavoie. “Each team within the K9 unit may search up to 100,000 square feet per day in residential and/or commercial buildings.”

The United States as a whole has such a growing bed bug problem — New York State being among the most heavily infested — which prompted Congress to introduce the Bed Bug Management, Prevention and Research Act of 2011 earlier this year. The expansion of Assured Environments’ K9 division, as well as its other professional products and services is helping residential and commercial consumers effectively address the problem.

To learn more information about Assured Environments’ K9 unit and its other products and services, please call the company’s New York headquarters.

Established in 1934, Assured Environments is the oldest and largest pest control management business in New York. An employee-owned firm, it provides a wide range of pest control management services to help clients eliminate bed bugs, cockroaches, ants, flies, spiders rodents, birds and bats. The company’s product/service offerings include professional bed bug preparation and bed bug treatment services; the Bed Bug Annihilator, a portable heat treatment chamber; and Cimex Rest Assured, an all-natural, nontoxic spray that kills bed bugs instantly. Assured Environments offers Green Shield Certified services and maintains an environmentally-friendly Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, which uses methods that are the least disruptive to human health and the environment. Based in Manhattan, Assured Environments serves commercial and residential customers throughout New York and New Jersey.