There's a growing business that uses aroma-sniffing dogs to target bed bugs.

Lucky is one such dog, on a mission to eliminate the blood suckers that permeate mattresses.

"Lucky detects the scene of live bed bugs and their viable eggs," handler Jillian Campbell explained.

"Gives me the willies!" homeowner Barbara Delves said, explaining why she hired Lucky. "And for my peace of mind, I want to make sure there are none here."

Delves has hint of a few problems: little red bites on her arms.

So Lucky gets to work, sniffing out his "bees," his codeword for the critters. He identifies them so homeowners can snuff them out.

To test Lucky, his trainer hid a beg bug-filled vial in the bed. Lucky scratches if he picks up a scent.

"A dog is 98 to 100 percent accurate," explained Carl Massicott, owner of Advanced K9.

Massicott founded the Advanced K9 Bed Bugs Detectives company on the east coast and recently brought it to Chicagoland.

"People thought we were nuts," Massicott said.

The service has become popular and the company has grown from one dog to 10, each having to undergo a $10,000, 6-month training class.

"There is a huge market for this. We have done cruise ships, college dorms, hotels, houses, condo apartments," Massicott said, offering the reminder that cleanliness has nothing to do with getting bed bugs.

Bed bugs can be picked up anywhere: in a cab, on a train or in the luggage on a plane. And they can hide anywhere, not just beds.

The apple seed-sized adults like to come out at night to feed, detecting the carbon dioxide humans breathe out. They inject their hosts with two tubes. The first in an anesthetic. The other is a straw.

They "will go in and hit your vein and he'll fill up with blood. And then he'll do another one. He usually hits three times. It's called breakfast, lunch and dinner," Masicott said.

A bed bug problem can easily grow, with one female capable of laying up to 500 eggs.

"So in six months, with that one bug, you can have 5,900 of them in your house and their diet is blood," Massicott warned.

As in Delves' case, they're more annoying than harmful, with the bites resulting in a red, itchy bump.

When it comes to bed bugs, Delves said she would rather have Lucky rather than rely on luck. And with Lucky's find, she'll now have to consider an exterminator so she can sleep tight.

Depending on the size of a home, it costs about $250 an hour to have a detective like Lucky inspect it.
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