This story previously appeared in the Sevierville Business Journal.More common than most people realize, bedbugs can be found even in the best hotels. To combat these pests, one East Tennessee business is using an uncommon way to locate the bugs even when they hide during the day: trained dogs named Taylor and Ollie.
“Bedbugs can be found even in five star hotels,” says Jennifer Chappell of Chappell’s Pest Control. “Or as my husband Rick says, it’s ‘from the outhouse to the White House.”
Bedbugs are reddish brown, oval and flat, about the size of an apple seed. During the day, they hide in the cracks and crevices of beds, box springs, headboards and bed frames. Female bedbugs can lay 500 eggs in a lifetime,
K9 inspectors Ollie and Taylor were trained specifically in the detection of bedbugs by David Latimer, who has more than 13 years experience supervising, training and handling working K9 teams in both the public and private sectors. (He has also trained and supervised teams in the detection of explosives, narcotics, and arson.)
Chappell says that the dogs are guided in and walked around any space needing to be inspected. The dogs will stop and point when they reach an area that has bedbugs. The insects give off a slight odor that humans may not notice but dogs can easily smell.
Using the dogs to inspect an area before treating spaces with high heat (around 135 degrees for three hours) is very effective and better for the environment, Chappell says, since no chemicals are used that could cause even more problems for hotel guests. The treatment is so effective and fast that rooms can usually be rented out again that day.
Unlike other common insect infestations, the problem with the bedbug is that they can be hard to catch with the eye. They typically only appear at night and are very quick to scurry away when exposed to light.
“Naturally we think it’s a good idea for tourists booking a vacation to ask if that hotel has been K9 inspected and not just visually checked by hotel staff,” Chappell said. “Taylor and Ollie are really good at what they do.”
Chappell’s Pest Control works in Eastern Tennessee and Southern Virginia, including the Tri-Cities area. They are members of the National Bed Bug Association, and fully licensed and insured.