"Good night, Sleep tight," a once-popular bedtime nursery rhyme, has been adopted as the battle cry of Cincinnati's latest four-legged superhero.
A 3-year-old beagle, known to friends and family as Cricket and currently serving as Chief Canine Officer (CCO) of Cincinnati Bed Bug Detection
Services, in Hyde Park, is on a mission to expose those pesky biting bugs so that the rest of us can finally get a good night's sleep.
Owners, trainers, and brother-sister duo Ryan and Caroline Grafton adopted Cricket from a family friend in February 2009, after the super-sniffer pup had undergone an intensive eight month training regimen at the J & K Canine Academy in High Springs, Florida. The nationally recognized facility trains stray and rescue dogs to detect a variety of specific scents, including narcotics, weapons, explosives, melanomas, cadavers, and (in the case of Cricket), bedbugs.
Despite the rigorous instruction and discipline instilled at the Canine Academy, "training does not end there," says Caroline Grafton, explaining that "it is a vital and continual part of Cricket's daily routine."
The growing epidemic of these blood-sucking pests has been a "mounting health issue since the early 70's when the Environmental Protection Agency outlawed the use of the pesticide DDT," explains Grafton. "Contributing to the problem is the increase in international travel and trade." Born survivors, bedbugs can live up to a year without feeding and are prolific reproducers. Female bedbugs can lay up to five eggs per day.
The health concern presented by this outbreak has drawn the attention of local officials, including State Representative Dale Mallory, who have recently met with Cincinnati Bed Bug Detection Services and area pest control agencies to discuss and formulate an action plan to combat the bedbug crisis in Cincinnati.
In the meantime, Cricket is hard at work, sniffing out the pesky perpetrators in residences, healthcare facilities, hotels, apartment buildings, theatres and more. "It's somewhere new every day," says Grafton.
With an impressive detection rate of 97 percent, nearly three times more accurate than that of trained pest control technicians, Cricket can effectively "sweep" 50-60 rooms per day. For the canine wunderkind and his team at Cincinnati Bed Bug Detection Services, "it's all in a good day's work." For the rest of us, it's all about a good night's sleep.
Source: Caroline Grafton, co-owner- Cincinnati Bed Bug Detection Services
Writer: Alyce Vilines