Category Archives: Dog Detection

3 Biggest Bed Bug Myths Debunked @ BOMA

IMG_20170526_155559Red Coat attended the BOMA show for the first time last week. It was a great event and we met lots of new people!  Everyone loved meeting Sadie as she ran the bed bug carousel.  By the end of the day she was so exhausted she just laid down on top of the bugs!

Meeting new people in a new industry brought a few new questions and stories to the forefront.  There is a great deal of mis-information about bed bugs in the world today.  Here are the 3 most common myths we discussed with attendees:

1) “I don’t have BEDS on my property, so I’m good!”

Do not let the name confuse you. They will live on any surface excluding glass or porcelain.  In more “mature” bed bug markets, OFFICE infestations are the fastest growing area for bed bug finds and treatments.  They are coming to an office chair near you!  Are you ready?

2) “I thought they were microscopic!”

Oh no! The adult bed bug is about the size of an apple seed.  The babies are quite small and very often overlooked.  But these bugs are messy and leave behind clear feces markings and shed skins.  Yes, one bug can be hard to find, but more often the infestation is very evident.

3) “I didn’t know dogs can find bed bugs?”

Yes, Bed Bug Detection Dogs are working animals trained on the odor of the insects. They are the fastest, most effective tool in identifying the location of the infestation. The best dogs can clear 200-300 chairs and desks in 2 hours.

Don’t be mistaken, bed bugs are everywhere we go now.  Know the signs and how to protect yourself when in public!

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

 

Red Coat is Hiring K9 Handlers

Bed Bug Canine Handler & Technician

Summary:  Fast growing pest control company (bed bug specialists) looking for experienced canine handlers to deliver bed bug detection and investigation services to commercial and residential clients.  Highest level of professionalism and attention to detail a must.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Handle bed bug detection canine
  • Inspect residential and commercial properties for bed bug infestations – both visual and canine
  • Estimate, recommend and sell bed bug remediation services

Additional Responsibilities:

  • Daily maintenance of canine’s training and health
  • Completion of appropriate paperwork
  • Occasional public speaking on bed bugs
  • Assist with bed bug treatments as necessary

Job Requirements:

  • Minimum of two years training and/or handling professional/agility canines of any type
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Must successfully pass background investigation and drug test
  • Own reliable transportation
  • Desire to work with dogs and people
  • Able to keep, care for, and maintain dog in residence

Training Requirements:

  • No pest control experience necessary, paid training provided during probationary period
  • Must successfully pass GA Registered Technician Pest Control Exam
  • Must successfully complete training and certification prior to full time employment

Knowledge/Skills/Abilities:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Be professional and present him/herself well
  • Excellent listening skills
  • Excellent attention to detail

Job Conditions:

  • Handler must be able to operate independently at client site
  • Work is physically demanding, on feet all day and must be able to move 50 pounds without assistance

Travel:

  • 100% daily regional travel
  • Occasional overnight travel to other states for training or for work assignments

Compensation:

  • Salary negotiable based on experience & skills
  • Mileage reimbursement or company vehicle
  • Medical reimbursement provided after 3 months of employment
  • Red Coat Services is an Equal Opportunity Employer

To Apply:

Submit resume and cover letter to employment@redcoatservices.com or fax to 1-866-821-7684.

Bed Bug Legal Considerations for Hospitality

Bed Bug Standard of Care and Legal Considerations for Hospitality

The experts agree, if you don’t have a proactive bed bug prevention program, you won’t have a good defense in court.  After all, in our litigious society, it is only a matter of time before a situation arises and a guest files a bed bug complaint.  To manage it well, a few key items must be in place prior to the occurrence:

  • Well trained front desk staff on how to handle the situation
  • A relationship with a pest control company, that are experts in bed bugs and their removal, to get rid of them fast and effectively

However, if a problem does escalate to a lawsuit or formal claim it is imperative that the following was established BEFORE the incident in question:

  • The hotel has a proactive program in place that includes:
    1. Regular inspections of all rooms for bed bugs
    2. Written protocol that employees are trained on, tested on and it is followed
    3. Formal training for housekeeping on what to look for, where to look for evidence, and a reporting process of rooms of concern. Documentation that training and testing has all occurred for every employee.  The same applies for all maintenance, front desk and management staff.  Training needs to occur for all current and future staff.
  • Management must be fully aware of the status of their rooms. The hotel must keep excellent pest control records outlining every inspection and treatment performed in every room.
  • The hotel defines “infested room” as 1 live bed bug or 1 live bed bug egg. Rooms with known active issues are NEVER released to sales for booking.
  • Bed bug infestations are handled swiftly – no longer than 24 hours to inspect and 1 week to treat (generally accepted, not code). All active rooms have a full 360 degree inspection of the adjacent rooms to confirm that the infestation has not spread.
  • A chronic bed bug problem in a room calls for different treatment methods, than previously employed, to fully exterminate the infestation.
  • Rooms are re-inspected following treatment to confirm eradication of bed bugs
  • Treatments are performed by a fully trained and licensed professional pest control company. There is too much documented evidence that bed bugs are not a do-it-yourself pest. In-house treatments will represent an inadequate effort to exterminate.

The plaintiff’s lawyer will focus on the following areas in a bed bug lawsuit:

  • Negligence – Lack of Compliance to the International Property Maintenance Code (Section 309)
    1. Property kept free from pests
    2. Pests promptly removed
    3. Precautions put in place to prevent future infestations (proactive inspections)
  • Consumer Protection
    1. Misrepresentation/Fraud– property not fit for habitation
    2. Non-disclosure of a known problem
  • Battery – the hotel put something into motion that caused harm to a person’s body or neglected to stop something that caused physical harm to a guest.

Georgia Law contains the following ruling established in 1961:

The innkeeper has a duty to inspect and is liable for such injuries caused by defects as would be disclosed by a reasonable inspection. Johnson v. John Deere Plow Co., 214 Ga. 645, 647 (106 SE2d 901) Hillinghorst v. Heart of Atlanta Motel, 104 Ga. App. 731, 1961 Ga. App. LEXIS 784 (Ga. Ct. App., October 4, 1961, Decided ).

  • Because a massive infestation present in a hotel room can be disclosed if there is a reasonable inspection by hotel staff, Georgia law finds hotels liable for bedbug injuries to their hotel guests. By Williams Oinonen, LLC.

Once a guest has filed a claim, many hotels try to fight them.  However, the following are defenses that don’t typically protect the hotel:

  1. Ignorance – willful ignorance is usually considered knowledge of the problem, commonly referred to as the “Ostrich” defense (head in the sand)
    1. A subset of this defense is to “wash hands of the issue” and move blame to the pest control provider who did not fix the problem – “I hired a professional, it is his responsibility. I don’t know anything about pest control.”  The counter to this is: “You don’t know anything about plumbing either but you know when a faucet is leaking.” Management must have oversight over their pest control company.
  • Blame of consumer for problem – “they brought it in” – if there is ANY evidence in the room or adjacent rooms of an infestation or any of the rooms have a history of being infested, then consumer blame will be hard to prove
    1. However detailed records of past inspections will provide the needed history and proof of due diligence for a good defense

In the end, the challenge we face in the hospitality industry is that the “Standard of Care” for a hotel will ultimately be defined by a jury.  So in any bed bug case the Jury will ask the following:

“Bed bugs are a known issue in hotels, did this hotel do everything in its power (what was reasonable) to protect the consumer or did they cut corners?  If so, was it intentional or unintended?  Did the consumer suffer needlessly?”  The answers to these questions will determine the multiplier for punitive damages.

The best defense is to be proactive and detailed in your inspections, training, documentation and follow through.  If you would like to know more on how Red Coat can assist your property or ownership company with a proactive bed bug prevention program, please contact John Marratt at 404-665-3985 or jmarratt@redcoatservices.com.

DISCLOSURE: I am NOT an attorney nor do I position myself as such.  Our knowledge of bed bug law is through formal pest control training and the guidance of other vested parties.  We share this information with you as a professional courtesy, all information should be reviewed with your own legal advisers prior to acting upon it.

 

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

 

Bed Bug Success Stories – Episode 1

Our company, Red Coat Services, has been working with a variety of multifamily clients over the years.  They come to us exasperated by a constantly expanding bed bug problem.  Through frequent visibility and vigilance we have conquered the problem.  Here are their stories….(names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty)

CLIENT XYZ

The client owned a 175 unit high end apartment complex with college student and young professional residents.  Property Management knew of 7 units that had bed bug problems in the past and had already been treated by another company.  When those treatments were not successful, management contracted with Red Coat to perform full property quarterly canine inspections and whole unit heat remediation for active infestations.

Red Coat’s initial canine inspection identified 27 of 175 (15%) units infested which was a significant increase over the 7 known units.  Whole unit heat treatments were completed for all active units.

The second quarterly inspection identified 5 new units infested (3%). The third quarterly inspection identified 1 unit infested (1%).  The fourth quarterly inspection identified ZERO infested units.

Management promptly sold the property following resolution of bed bug problem.

I hope this gives you inspiration.  A big problem is not the end of your reputation or your property.  Red Coat can fix it for you!

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

 

Scent Detection Dogs vs Service Dogs

“Is he/she your service dog?” This is a question I hear surprisingly often while I’m out on a property working with Bed Bug Detection Canine, Sade. While I’m out working with Sade, at home, a rescued golden/labrador retriever mix named Dusty, is well on her way to becoming a Certified Service dog. With experience in both sides, I can personally speak to some of the similarities and differences between the two.

Service Dogs are a type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people with physical disabilities including visual or hearing impairment, mental disabilities such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and medical alert for those suffering with diabetes, seizures, narcolepsy and even cancer.

Detection Dogs, or sniffer dogs, are trained to detect substances such as drugs, firearms, mold, currency and of course, bed bugs! Some prisons even have dogs trained to detect illicit cell phones in prisons.

Obviously, the main differences lay in their specific functions, what they’re looking for, actions they must perform and behavior (service dogs must be laid back and calm while you want to see a strong working drive in detection dogs), but little else differs.

Either dog can be bred for their specific purpose by organizations, private breeders or even selected from shelters and rescues. The training it takes to get them there is quite similar, taking six to twelve months either way for a completely certified working dog but the end result is the same, helping humans. Is it really any wonder they’re considered man’s best friend?

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

$800K Bed Bug Suit!

Attention all Managers, Landlords, and Property Owners!

If you haven’t read this article already, you need to. The jury really nailed this guy and likely set a precedent for other cases similar in nature. The situation could EASILY have been avoided had he just called a bed bug specialist to begin with. At the very least, he would have saved a ton of money and a massive headache! Not to mention the fact that he could have very easily burned the entire place down performing his own “home heat treatment.”

One of the things we at Red Coat Services constantly harp on with those who manage/own properties is liability! It is critical to educate yourself as well as your staff on bed bug biology so you at least know what you’re dealing with. Additionally, work with your local bed bug specialist to get a plan in place, so when a problem does arise (and it will eventually), they can take care of it as soon as possible. Because as we all know, the longer an infestation sits, the worse it gets and the chance of spreading grows astronomically.

However, the responsibility doesn’t sit on the shoulders of managers/owners alone. It is also crucial for tenants to learn about these vicious little blood suckers and how to look for signs of an infestation. If there is any indication whatsoever, call your local bed bug specialist K9 team to come out and take a look so they may determine the severity and extent of an infestation, or just simply give you peace of mind.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Check your apartment for bed bugs before you rent!

Speaker on upper wall with bed bugs

Speaker on upper wall

Even after working with bed bugs daily I am still surprised by their resiliency and the havoc bed bugs can inflict on unsuspecting people.  I sing it from the roof tops – be vigilant in your travels and your daily life – because bed bugs are coming to your world one way or the other.  Wouldn’t you rather have a great story of how you found them before they infested your life, rather than the story of how it took you time and money to get them out of your life?  Knowledge and vigilance pays with these insects.

The enclosed pictures are a great example of bed bugs ready for a new host.  This apartment was as the management companies call “ready to rent”.  It had been cleaned, painted and approved for a new renter.  We were asked to do a walk through before they released it.  The first photo show a window screen on the floor next to my ladder.  Nothing monumental here, I just wanted to give perspective for the next photo.  But notice the small little speaker on the upper part of the wall.

The second photo is a close up of the speaker.  I will challenge you to look at the speaker and tell me how many insects you can see.  You may need to zoom in to see the entirety of the population.  The mama is obvious, she is on the surface and is likely the only one that would have been seen by the untrained eye standing in the room.  Daddy is dead center inside the speaker.  The rest of the family – 16 insects in all are all over the speaker in nooks and crannies.  Check out the two bed bugs hiding in the screw hole!  Now that is creepy and all, but the kicker is the 21 eggs that are visible in the photo.  They are the white/clear iridescent tubes that are stuck inside the nooks.

Bed Bugs in Speaker

Bed Bugs in Speaker

All of these bed bugs were just waiting for their next meal to walk in the door.  Luckily for the new renter and the management company we were able to treat this apartment in one day and have it truly “ready to rent” now.

Take care when renting.  If you have the opportunity, have a certified bed bug detection dog check your apartment before you move in.  It is the best advice I can give.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Why Are Bed Bugs in Our Libraries?

Bed bug eggs in book spine

Bed bug eggs in book spine

Growing up in a very rural town in upstate New York, one of the things I looked forward to the most were my almost weekly trips to the public library to pick up one or two new books, usually on animal training. Needless to say our family pets learned some nifty tricks along the way and even as I wrote this article, it made me laugh to think where my animal fascination has led me today.

It isn’t news to most of us by now that bed bugs have been showing up in our public and school libraries. It really is no surprise considering where most people choose to read, myself included, in bed or a nice cozy chair! This gives the little buggers the perfect opportunity to not only feed while you are sitting still but also to crawl off into their favorite hiding places.

But does this mean we need to steer clear? Of course not! Bed bug infestations are usually a matter of bad luck but there are plenty of things we can do to prevent the spread. More and more libraries are taking initiative by training their employees about bed bugs and taking steps to both prevent and treat for them when necessary. Next time you go, you can call ahead and ask them about their policy, then once there, put on your inspectors cap and take a peek at the spine (especially with hard covers) and between the pages of the books you plan to borrow for feces spots, skins and of course bugs. If there’s any question, bring it to the staff’s attention.

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Our new bed bug specialist joins the bed bug control blog!

A quick introduction for our new blogging contributor.  Her name is Alana, and she is also a bed bug specialist! Alana works with my bed bug K9 Sade and is one of the members of our Red Coat team.  I look forward to her posts!

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Bed Bug K9 in Pest Control

Here is an article that the Georgia Pest Control Association just published regarding the use of dogs to find bed bugs (page 10).  You might recognize the author!

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist