Despite current public health measures, the Bow Valley is bracing itself for another busy tourist season and the Town of Banff predicts more tourists this summer than in 2020.
James Wood, owner and handler with Assured K-9 Detection Services says his rescue dog Rebel is a certified bed bug buster, and that this dog can put her training to good use and help hotel owners in the area ensure their rooms are safe, clean, and pest free.
Wood traveled to California to get Rebel last August, where she honed her canine scent detection skills over 1,000 hours of training.
I did my homework and I came across the place in California. I went down and I trained with Rebel for 100 hours, it was more teaching me how to maintain her training level.
I got her when she was almost two-years-old. I worked for 13 years in residence management and I was experienced in bed bug inspection and identification in Calgary south area. I noticed there was problem and stigma.
If news of an infestation goes public and a hotel is named as a spot that has bedbugs, it can greatly affect their brand reputation and bottom line.
Wood says its important hotel owners detect bed bug infestations early, before they become a big problem.
They are highly efficient bugs because their food is always consistent. They can lie dormant for up to a year and as soon as there is an activity they will wake up. If you have them in your bed, you can easily transfer them to your couch because they cling to your clothes. Rebel and I have gone to seniors centers and hospitals where there were serious problems, he said. Rebel can pinpoint even the smallest bed bug infestation with amazing accuracy and precision.
James explains what goes into training a dog with a job and how the two of them get to work.
Bedbug infestations can happen anywhere, not just hotel rooms. They are notorious hitchhikers, and they arent picky where they will end up, as long as there is a food source, they are parasites and feed on blood alone. You can pick them up in transit, in hostels or at five star hotels.
We are hoping to educate anyone who operates guest accommodations about the importance of regular inspections: hotel and motel owners, hospitality staff, housekeeping staff, AirBnB owners, hostels, etc.
He says detecting a bed bug infestation can save hotel owners time and money, since treating a small infestation is less costly and labor intensive than a large one.
When we locate exactly where the nest is, we help owners identify what furniture to get rid of as opposed to throwing all the furniture away. Rebel is excellent at what she does, but it takes regular training and daily exercises to keep her skills up.
There has been a lot of interest in northern and central Alberta so far. The biggest problem we are running into right now is covid-19 because hotels are empty and they dont want to invest.
They are currently the only independent canine scent detection team certified by the World Detector Dog Organization (WDDO) in Alberta.
Local rescue dog sniffing out bed bug infestations - The Crag and Canyon