Monday, December 29, 2008

Bedbug Dogs

Bomb sniffing, cadaver recovering, seizure sensing, cancer diagnosing... Now, add another talent to the canine resume, bedbug detecting. Over the past decade, incidences of bedbug infestation have skyrocketed in the United State due to increases in international travel and the elimination of powerful pesticides such as DDT. With bedbugs infesting hotels, cabs and airline baggage compartments, even the most fastidious traveler can inadvertently transport these tiny pests over international borders and straight into the home.
While humans can find and treat bedbug infestations too, dogs are quicker and more accurate at the task. Tim Leatherman of Perfection Pest Control told WLWT News in Cincinnati that his canine bedbug detector, Betty, is 98 percent accurate as opposed to his human help's 30 percent accuracy rating. And Betty can work a room in 20 to 60 seconds, far faster than any human. Betty's pinpoint accuracy allows for minimal chemical use. This, combined with her speed, means lower fees for clients.
For a list of accredited bedbug detecting dogs, visit the National Entomology Scent Detection
Canine Association (NESDCA) at http:/
Top Reasons to Use a Bedbug Dog

Friday, December 19, 2008

$20,000 in Scholarships from Fire Sprinkler Association

The American Fire Sprinkler Association,(AFSA) is offering high school seniors a chance to win $20,000 in scholarships in its National Scholarship Contest, Unlike the majority of scholarships, the AFSA's does not require applicants to painstakingly craft a grammatically impeccable, stand-out essay. Nor does it require a panel of judges to comb through thousands of overwrought entries about how the applicant's life was altered by the presence and precision of fire sprinklers. Instead, students are asked to read an essay, a 3,000-word opus on - you guessed it - the importance of fire sprinklers. Next, they complete a ten-question test based on the information in the essay. Each correct answer gives the student a chance to win one of ten $2,000 scholarships. Each student can win only one scholarship but, for such minimal effort, it might be the easiest $2,000 you'll ever make. Deadline for entries is April 1, 2009. For details or to apply, visit

Clip Art curtesy of

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Redeeming Qualities of Bed Bugs

The oldest known bed bug on record was found by archaeologists while excavating el-Amarna,
an ancient city south of Cairo. The fossilized specimen is estimated to be 3500 years old. So bed bugs - nicknames: mahogany flats, red coats, crimson ramblers - have been bugging humans for a long, long time. Were they put on this earth simply to feed on and harass humans? Maybe not.
They may have some redeeming qualities after all. In Bugs in the System: Insects and Their Impact on Human Affairs, author May R. Berenbaum, writes that ancient Greek physician Dioscorides "attributed to bed bugs no fewer than eleven medicinal virtues." To treat wounds, for example, mix a concoction of crushed bed bugs and tortoise blood and apply liberally to the affected area. To cure nocturnal fevers, attach a single bed bug to the left arm. Berenbaum goes on to quote some traditional Chinese treatments employing bed bugs. For "lip-turning furuncle" [also known as an infected hair follicle or a boil], pound seven bed bugs thoroughly with some cooked rice and apply the paste on the lesion. It will effect a quick cure." "For stye, drop a little blood squeezed from bed bugs on the affected spot. The swelling will soon subside."It would be nice if these parasitic companions were able to give something back, to soothe some pain after all the itching and aggravation they've caused. Leeches and maggots have made a big comeback in medicine. What
about mahogany flats?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Silent Night, Holy Night. Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite.

If you are celebrating Christmas away from home this year, don't forget, before the decking of halls and the drinking of egg nog, before even the unpacking of suit cases must come the inspection of the mattress.

The following bed bug defense measures are provided to holiday travelers by Protect-A-Bed.

1.Using a travel flashlight, conduct a very basic inspection of the bed by pulling back the bed linens and checking the visible edges of the mattress. You are looking for evidence of live bugs, dark brownish to black spots or stains that could indicate bed bugs. (See image above for an example of a heavily infested mattress.)

2. Inspect the headboard and the spaces between the carpet and the wall where moulted
skins, excrement and eggs of the bed bugs could be found.

3. Do not place your luggage near the places where bed bugs are typically found - on the
bed, near the bed, on the couch or any type of upholstered furniture.

4.Elevate your luggage on a luggage stand.

5.Keep your luggage closed at all times. If possible, use hard shelled luggage.

6.When not in use, keep items like laptops, books, toiletries, jewelry and electronics in sealed
plastic bags.

7.Notify the manager-on-duty immediately if you suspect bed bugs or if you begin to develop
itchy welts on your body.

Returning home with wonderful memories of holiday cheer is good. Returning home with bed bugs in your suitcase is not. Protect-A-Bed offers these basic tips for travelers to follow upon returning home.

1.If you are a frequent traveler, encase mattresses and box springs before you leave

2.Do not take luggage inside your home.

3.Unpack your luggage in an area that is well-lit and away from furniture and sleeping areas, such as a garage.

4.Unpack one suitcase at a time. Immediately place all of your clothing that can be
hot-laundered into the washing machine or into a garbage bag that can be sealed and placed aside.

5.All items being laundered should be laundered in the hottest possible wash cycle and placed in the dryer on the hottest possible setting.

6.Place all dry-clean clothing in a garbage bag, seal it and place it aside. Consider using
GreenClean™ Dissolvable Laundry Bags to transport your clothes from your luggage to the washing machine a simple one-step process.

7.Empty items that you sealed in plastic bags (computer, books, toiletries, etc.) and immediately discard the bags in an outdoor trash can.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cloned Pet Pup Celebtrates First Birthday

Mira, the first clone of a pet dog, celebrated her first birthday today in Mill Valley California. Although she never met her genetic doner, Missy, who died in 2002 at age 15, Mira shares many traits with her predecessor. Not only is there a striking visual resemblance, but their unique mink-soft coats feel exactly the same to owner Lou Hawthorne. And then there's the weird broccoli thing. Mira, along with her fellow Missy-clones, Chingu and Sarang, love to chow down on steamed broccoli, just like Missy did. The three pups belong to the same extended family and meet up for playdates several times a week.

For information on how to have your pet cloned, visit

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Camping with Kitty

A Texas family was reunited with their cat, Fluffy, three months after having lost her on a camping trip in Yellowstone Park. Last summer, the Wattenbargers - Mom, Dad, three girls and two cats - took off on a cross-country tour of National Parks. At each stop, the cats, Fluffy and Tiger, were let out to explore the new terrain. But they always came back to the trailer when they get hungry for supper. One particular August day, however, when the family was camping in Yellowstone, Fluffy went off to explore and never returned for her meal. The Wattenbargers figured that their vanished tabby must have become someone else's meal -maybe a bear's, bobcat's or coyote's. And Mom admits that, "Fluffy wasn't the smarter of our two cats." They didn't have much faith in the feline's ability to fend for herself in the wilderness. After searching for several days, the family packed up and went back to Texas.
In November, three months after the ill-fated camping fiasco, the Wattenbargers get a call from 79-year-old Shirley Armstrong, who lives along the outskirts of Yellowstone. Armstrong had been feeding a stray tabby who had not allowed her close enough to read the name and phone number on its collar. With the weather getting colder, this resourceful woman had borrowed a trap from the local police department and snagged the skittish critter. After contacting the Wattenbargers, she was even able to arrange a chaperon to escort Fluffy back to Texas by air. One of Armstrong's neighbors was a retired flight attendant who was able to fly free. All the family had to do was pay Fluffy's fare and show up at the airport.
It was a joyful reunion to be sure. But has the family learned their lesson about letting pets wander freely among wild animals in strange surroundings? No, they've decided to continue camping with their cats.
"They seem to enjoy themselves out there," says Dad, in an article from the Houston Chronicle.

Image of a Yellowstone Park resident, courtesy of the Official Website of Yellowstone National Park, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior