PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WMBF) - They hide in your mattress - and feed on your blood, we're talking about bed bugs.
Hotels are one of the most common places you can pick them up and with so many people traveling this weekend - you really need to watch out. There's a new way to find those bugs that's being used right here on the Grand Strand.
Dogs are called man's best friend for a reason. Detector dogs, can be a fast and easy way to sniff out bed bugs.
Yaro, is a detector dog and a bed bug expert. It takes the canine less than five minutes to sniff bed bugs in a motel room, a process that can take a human, several hours.
"It's more efficient, time wise, and they're actually finding the bug, where humans we have to go out and look, take off light sockets, pull the furniture apart," says Russell Goodale with Merrill's Detector Dog Services. "It's just more of a detailed search for us to do, versus the dog picking up the scent."
Merrill's Detector Dog Services say the easiest way for humans to pick up the bugs is to follow the dark tracks they leave behind. Look for dark feces, or blood smeared on sheets; but the most efficient way to find the pests is scent- which is where the trained dogs come into play.
Think about it, the faster we find the bugs, the less chance they have to multiply.
While they're not proven to cause disease, they eat your blood; this can lead to a rash, loss in sleep, or even eat at your wallet.
"They multiply rapidly and you get to the point where you're gonna have to get an exterminator coming in to get rid of them, it could cost you into the thousands of dollars," says Goodale.
How do we avoid bed bugs?
One simple mistake we're all guilty of, is walking into a hotel room, and putting our bag down. Always leave your bags on an elevated surface. Another trick, stick your bags in a tub. Experts say, it's a place bed bugs won't climb. After that, make sure you search your room. Pull the sheets back and look around the mattress, including its edges and the box spring.
"Take your room key and anywhere the room key will fit- a bed bug can hide, and you can put your key in there and kind of slide it across and see if there's anything hiding behind it," says Goodale.
Once you find them, it will take an expert to come in for the kill. Pest experts say while bed bugs are most commonly found where you sleep, they can be found anywhere from movie theaters to a taxi cab. Remember, where you go, they can go with you.