Dogs trained to find bed bugs near OIA

One local business will check your bags upon returning home from trips

By Paul Giorgio - Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - Bed bugs, just the thought of them can send shivers through your body.

Bug experts say Cinncinati, Chicago, and New York are battling infestations of bed bugs. Here in Orlando, with so many tourists coming and going we could be next.

One local businessman has taken to the front lines in the battle to keep Orlando infestation free.

Doyle Blake runs Sleep Tight K-9 located at the Park, Bark and Fly airport parking on Semoran Boulevard. The business operates out of a trailer just minutes from Orlando International Airport.

Blake says a stay in a hotel room is the number one way bed bugs can enter your home.  He offers to check your bags moments after you land.

To help find the bugs, Blake employs his trusty beagle Daisy. She's specially trained and certified to sniff out the creatures. Blake and Daisy team up to search hundreds of pieces of luggage a week. 

Experts at the University of Florida agree the science is sound. Dr. Robert Pereira, one of the worlds top bug researchers, works in the Department of Entomology. His team has done extensive study on whether K-9's can actually detect the bugs.

"If the dogs are well trained, and well maintained, the dogs can be very accurate," he says, "they will detect just one bed bug in a room."

Pereira says it's important that the handler understands exactly how the dog is functioning. "You have to train the dogs to do exactly what you want them to do."  He says the dogs need constant re-training.

"If they can find a way to fool the handler, and get food or play without finding bed bugs, they will do it." He say that's how bad habits can begin. "When they are not re-training their dogs all the time, that's when you see problems."

Sleep Tight K-9 doesn't charge to check your bags. The only fee is to destroy any bugs that are found, about $50.

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