Meet Molly, the bed bug sniffing dog

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by TRICIA MANNING-SMITH / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 13, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 13 at 6:45 PM

EDMONDS, Wash. - Leigh Ann Coleman's average day at work would make your skin crawl.

"Come Molly, you ready to work?" says Coleman.

Molly her dog is not a "bloodhound" by breed, but she's definitely a hound on the trail of blood, human blood, trapped inside the bodies of bedbugs.

"Molly is a certified bed bug detecting canine," said Coleman.

Molly is one of only a few such trained dogs in the entire Northwest.

Molly's nose-worthy talent earns trainer Coleman $200 an hour in the pest detection business.  Their clients often wear the wounds of these indiscriminate parasites.

"I've been to very low-income housing, to a 'Street of Dreams' home in Woodinville, to a $3 million home in Magnolia," said Coleman, owner of Pest Detection NW.  "They had bites on their foreheads from bedbugs coming back night after night."

Bed bugs will often hide right along the edge of a mattress or burrow deep down inside. Then they'll sneak out at night to feast on an unsuspecting sleeper.

"Its creepy to anybody. They're blood sucking vampires," said Coleman.

To help Molly train, to keep the dog's skills up to snuff, Coleman offers up herself as bait.

"Oh, there I got a big bite.  Some of these are big bad boys," said Coleman, as she allows a colony of vial-contained bedbugs to feast on the palm of her hand.

"I'm feeding my colony of bedbugs. I call them the 'Joneses.' I have to feed them (my own blood) to keep their pheromone and blood scent fresh," said Coleman.

But don't let the name "bed bug" fool you.

"They've been found in couches, vehicles, movie theaters, trains.  Anywhere there are humans to feed on, there are bedbugs," said Coleman.

Experts say bedbugs were almost wiped out, but made a resurgence after DDT was banned in 1972.

Molly's uncanny canine talent tracking them likely saved her life. She was rescued from a Florida shelter and trained for more than 800 hours, specifically in tracking down blood-engorged bedbugs. Coleman says her $10,000 investment in Molly quickly paid off.

"She's the best employee I've ever had....(Molly) is eager to go to work every day, hasn't called in sick... She's happy. That's what she lives for, is to work," said Coleman.

 

 

 

 

 

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