Bedbug exterminators in Ireland have reported a dramatic rise in the number infestations, with the Irish hotel sector particularly affected by the problem.
The rise in the unwanted bugs is partly due to the high numbers of tourists returning to Ireland from New York, where businesses endured a bedbug epidemic this past summer.
Barely visible, the tiny blood sucking bugs can live from 10 to 18 months in suitable conditions, which means they can easily hitchhike on luggage etc. The parasites can drink three times their weight in a single meal.
The Dublin based firm, Complete Pest Control has enlisted the help of two springer spaniels which have been trained in bedbug detection.
"The problem is so serious that we have two springer spaniels who have been trained to identify bedbugs,” Trevor Hayden, owner of Complete Pest Control, told the Sunday Tribune.
“A lot of the call-outs we are dealing with are from people who have returned from New York carrying the insects. Traditionally, this is the time when a lot of Irish people go to New York shopping and they are unwittingly bringing back the insects," he added.
The Pest Control boss admitted that there is still a lot of stigma involved with having bed bugs.
"For clients in the commercial sector, such as hotels, we call out to them in unmarked vans. We then use a spray treatment to kill the bed bugs and depending on the severity of the problem, between two and four treatments can be necessary."
Recently the company carried out treatment in a taxi driver's car who had become infested after operating fares out of Dublin airport.
"I personally would rather have a rat in my house than bedbugs. We have visited places where there are over 100 of the insects and people are being eaten alive by them at night and are covered in bites," Hayden said.