By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY —
Twelve paws and all, three canines began serving as the front line of defense against bed bugs for New Albany Public Housing Thursday.
Black Diamond Termite and Pest Control in Jeffersonville was chosen by the New Albany Public Housing Authority to inspect units, and that started with the inspection of 163 apartments at Riverview Towers off Scribner Drive.
While a separate company has been tapped to spray chemicals to get rid of the pests, Black Diamond used two Patterdale terriers and a Belgium malinois to search for bed bugs.
“Anybody in the multi-housing market, the medical field, the schools and also hotels are dealing with bed bugs because there’s been an outbreak of those,” said Bob Lane, executive director of the NAHA.
Over the next several days, Black Diamond and its team of canines will inspect every public housing site in New Albany, Lane said. They will search through common areas and bedrooms in an attempt to detect bed bugs.
Lane said public housing residents were notified through multiple newsletters about the pending inspections.
“What we’re trying to do is get them under control,” Lane said.
He added there hasn’t been a major outbreak of bed bugs in the local public housing sector, but that the NAHA board approved a pest control plan that entailed the dog inspections.
“The whole process is an expensive thing to do, but it is something that we’ve taken on,” Lane said. “We’ve had some cases [of bed bugs]...it’s just something we’re trying to get a handle on, and it’s something that we’ll be doing the next several months to get them under control as best as we possibly can.”
Lane said Black Diamond provided a demonstration of how the dogs are able to smell the bed bugs, and added the company touts the method as being 98 percent effective.
The bed bug focus is in addition to normal pest control implemented by the NAHA. Each month, every public housing unit is sprayed for other, more common pests.
Bed bugs are typically more difficult to eliminate than other pests, so there may have to be multiple times when a company is brought in to spray to remove them, Lane continued.