TIGARD, Ore. -- A Tigard man who can use his dog to track down bed bugs in your house says this is the high season.
“Usually I hear from people after the holidays, they travel and bring them back on luggage or their out-of-town guests leave them,” explained Marty Neiman of K9 Bug Detection NW.
Neiman purposely brings the bugs into his house so he can train his two-year-old German Shepherd to track them down. “As long as there’s a scent, you can train a dog to detect anything,” he said.
In a demonstration at his home, Neiman hid 6 bed bugs in a vial in the corner of the couch. The dog, named Ruger, found them in less than two minutes.
“If you took his scent membrane and laid it out on the floor it would be larger than his skin. They filter a tremendous amount,” Neiman explained.
And it's a busy time for Neiman and Ruger. Neiman said Portland’s bed bug complaints are 30 times what they were a few years ago.
“New York is the worst about a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, the Midwest is a little better and Seattle has more of a problem than Portland,” Neiman said.
As a puppy, Ruger trained with Marty six hours a day for three months learning to detect the bugs. Previously Marty trained animals for search and rescue duty. His late dog Justice spent more than 200 hours on the Kyron Horman case.
“It’s tough duty working the terrain and my advancing age sent me into the bed bug business,” Neiman remarked. “At first it was creepy, living with bed bugs in the house. I used to scratch a lot but now I know they can’t get out of the vials,” said his wife.
Like Marty, she knows the bugs don’t carry disease but can be a nuisance.
“If you have them in your house you have two options, heat treatments or pest control chemicals. It’s up to the homeowner to decide,” Neiman concluded.