Got bed bugs? Call Max the beagle

Menomonee Falls-based Wil-Kil Pest Control recently purchased Max, a rescue beagle certified and trained to detect bed bugs and their eggs.
According to Randy Allen, regional manager at Wil-Kil, Max replaces work that was previously done by flashlights, the human eye and pesticides, with only at a 35-percent efficiency rate.
“Max is great. He is trained to detect live bed bugs in any surface and does so above a 90-percent efficiency rate,” Allen said. “He also saves time and money because he can pinpoint the direct source of the bugs and we can usually avoid chemical treatment of the whole room.”
Max was professionally trained at the J&K Canine Academy in Florida. He is trained to tell the difference between live bed bugs and dead ones, thereby assisting the company in doing post-treatment inspections to determine if the infestation problem was taken care of, Allen said.
“He goes through a pretty rigorous training regime on a daily basis,” Rick Schoening, technical specialist and Max’s company handler, said. “Each day, he has to find bed bugs before he can eat, that’s his reward.”
Prior to obtaining Max, the company was reactionary, rather than proactive about detecting bed bugs, Allen said.
A destination in the hospitality industry would call explaining they had a problem with bed bugs, and sometimes an entire floor would have to be closed down and treated for the infestation. With Max on the case, Wil-Kil can zero in on the exact source of the bed bug problem.
“We can bring Max in to do a sweep of the rooms, and pinpoint exact locations where the infestation has begun before it spreads elsewhere in the hotel,” Schoening said. “We can heat treat a single room and have it open again the next day to do the post-treatment inspection. We couldn’t do that with traditional treatment, rooms could be closed off for days or even weeks.”
Max has given the company a competitive advantage in the marketplace, Allen said.
“He’s the only dog for hire in the state of Wisconsin that does what he can do,” he said. “Plus, clients like him, and they trust his instincts. His calendar is full, so he’s been great for business.”
To view a webcast interview with Allen, Schoening and to see Max in action, click on the video link below.

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