Local dog sniffs out bed bugs

Local dog sniffs out bed bugs (Image 1)

Health officials said bed bugs are on the rise in Middle Tennessee.

Christopher Trotter says he was recently bitten by the bugs while staying at a local motel.  He said the bites were so bad he had to be hospitalized.

Officials with the Metro Public Health Department said Trotter's complaint is not the first against a hotel or motel in Middle Tennessee being infested with the bugs. 

In fact, the problem has spawned a new business in the state.

Sky is a rescue dog turned bed bug hunter for Dog Inspectors based out of Franklin.

“Usually it is very hard to find bed bugs. They're very reclusive, hard to find, hard to see,” said owner Chuck Nelson.

He said Sky relies on her nose, picking up on the scent of the bug's feces. 

It's a technique that's been used in Europe for decades but is relatively new to the states.

Nelson said, “As the problem has come over to the U.S. we've been seeing the use of canines in New York along the East Coast, and Florida in the last two or three years.”

He also said the bugs are indiscriminate and found everywhere from budget hotels to five star hotels.

While most of the problems in Middle Tennessee have been in hotels and motels, they have found their way into some homes, and the experts at Dog Inspectors say the bugs are here to stay.

“As we are becoming a more mobile society people are traveling a lot; the problem is coming to our area,” said Nelson.

The Metro Public Health Department said reports of bed bugs are on the rise.

So far this year they've investigated 29 complaints compared to 35 for all of last year.

Health officials said they investigate all complaints of bugs in hotel rooms.

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