Second of four parts
For employers trying to figure out if their workplace has a bedbug problem, bringing in properly trained bedbug-sniffing dogs can be the best approach, especially if you have a large facility to check. But you’d be wise to do a little more digging yourself before signing a contract with the dog trainer, according a nationally recognized expert on pests that infest buildings, people, and property. That’s because there are “growing problems” with quality control and the animals’ reliability.
“Everybody and his brother is getting into the (bedbug) detection business, training dogs,” says University of Kentucky entomology professor Michael F. Potter, who recently co-presented an audio event on the subject for HRHero.com. “Adequately trained dogs, however, are not widely available. For example, there is only one adequately trained dog in all of Kentucky.”
As more employers have sought trainers’ services, Potter worries that some dogs could be working too long each day. As with people, the dogs could lose their focus or overlook evidence of a possible infestation as they go from one workplace to the next. For more information on dog-training certification, check out the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association.
Here are four things Potter says employers can do to increase the likelihood that they have picked the right dog and trainer:
- Look at the trainer’s certification.
- Check references.
- Be present and ask to see the bedbugs when they’re found.
- Ask the trainer to bring in a second dog to verify the first dog’s findings.
Personally, Potter believes “pest control companies are the way to go.” He says good companies do a lot of inspecting, hunting, and looking before they start spraying. He adds: “If they come in and just start spraying, they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Coming Wednesday: What legal problems can bedbugs cause for employers?
“Bedbugs at Work? Guard Against Lawsuits, Productivity Threats,” a 90-minute audio event featuring Michael F. Potter and Epstein Becker Green attorney Susan Gross Sholinsky, is available on CD or via live streaming.
About: HR Hero Line:|
HR Hero Line is a weekly e-zine for human resources and business professionals featuring news and analysis on HR and employment law from members of the Employers Counsel Network and select experts in HR and employment law. HR Hero Line is published by M. Lee Smith Publishers.