The George bedbug free, says dog

Student residence inspected for the second time by Hershey, bedbug sniffing beagle

Bedbugs are a common problem in Canada, especially in hotels and student residences, where people go in and out all the time.

To help avoid getting a costly infestation, The George student residence brought in the help of a bedbug sniffing dog.

Hershey, a beagle with around eight years of experience tracking the bugs, is highly efficient at what she does, according to Daniel Mackie, technical director of Green Leaf Pest Control.

“The dog is about 90 per cent accurate at finding that one bug of those small pockets of bedbugs, where for a human it’s like finding a needle in a haystack,” he added.

For the students, having a dog do the search is a convenient process, since Hershey doesn’t need to move things around.

“It’s very preventative from us, very proactive and I think the big word is reassuring,” said Gerard Hayes, director of student experience.

They don’t touch anything in the room,” said Nikki Gaspich, a practical nursing student and resident at The George. “When I went in, I didn’t even know if they were there or not.”

This is the second time that Hershey inspected the building, and it hasn’t found bugs. The administration of the residence is planning on having inspections twice a year, in April and September, to make sure the residents haven’t introduced bedbugs in the building.

“We’ll continue to do checks every year and if we ever find something, because we do check, we’ll have the ability to address it quickly,” Hayes said.

However, infestations can happen anytime.

“You can be bedbug free today, but an hour later, or a minute after the dog leaves, if you come back and introduce bedbugs into the environment, there are going to be there,” Mackie said.

To avoid the bugs, prevention is key. The general recommendations are not bringing in furniture or objects that have been found on the streets, and report immediately if bites appear or you see bedbugs.

And if bedbugs get into the building, all residents and staff of The George would have to follow a treatment for two weeks. If bedbugs appear, Hayes said the college is ready.

“We are definitely prepared, as most universities and colleges are, for those things in residence. It does happen,” he said. “Luckily for us, we’ve been fortunate after our first year, and now we are going to our second year.”

In August, Orkin Canada released a ranking of the cities where the company has done the most treatments for bedbugs between June 2016 and July 2017. Toronto topped the list with the most treatments with Winnipeg and Vancouver landing second and third.

According to a release from the company, the company expected 2017 to be a “bumper year” for bedbugs.

Toronto is listed 2270 times on Bedbugregistry.com, a site where users can report and look up incidents of bedbugs in North America.

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The George bedbug free, says dog