30 June 2009

Dogs can locate bedbugs by smell. Also lobsters.

An article in this month's issue of The Atlantic reports that trained dogs are being used to search for bedbugs in homes, apartments, and hotel rooms.
A controlled experiment by entomologists at the University of Florida found that dogs were 98 percent accurate in locating live bedbugs in hotel rooms. In a hotel or apartment building, dogs can determine which rooms require attention, avoiding the telltale stench of mass fumigation and saving thousands of dollars by treating only the affected rooms. (Not that the dogs are cheap: they typically cost about $325 an hour.)
The author's definition of "cheap" differs from mine, but what really startled me was that these dogs learn to distinguish live bedbugs from dead ones, bedbug skins, and bedbug fecal matter.

In a separate, but related (I think lobsters are sometimes referred to as "bugs"), story - Canadian dogs have been trained to detect lobster eggs.
It's illegal for fishermen to keep egg-bearing lobster, but catching them is difficult because the crustaceans carry their eggs under their bellies.

So until now, fisheries officers had to turn every lobster over by hand to check them.

"It speeds up the time. The dog can do probably 20 crates of lobsters in five minutes where it would take us probably five hours..."

Via Arbroath, where there is a video. More later on dogs that detect seizures, and maybe I'll do melanoma dogs eventually. Amazing creatures.

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