Human and canine exterminators fight nationwide wave of pests
By Elise Kaplan
The unmarked white building on Candelaria holds one bed and two dressers but no personal belongings suggesting a home. It's eerily devoid of picture frames, stuffed animals and clothes. A cooler sits on the beige tile floor, and Patriot Pest Control's newest employee bounds into the room to check it out. Captain Dale, the bedbug-detection dog, has one thing on his mind.
You’re strolling barefoot down the beach when—what the?—you step on a furry mass that sends lightening bolts of pain shooting through your body. You look down to discover the culprit: a roiling blob of fuzzy caterpillars. That doesn’t seem so bad, and after the pain subsides, you decide not to visit a doctor. You return home, but huge bruises begin to appear on your body. Instead of getting smaller, they get bigger. By the time you get to a hospital and doctors realize you’ve been stung by a certain type of poisonous Brazilian caterpillar―and order the special antivenin from South America―your kidneys shut down and your blood won’t clot. Later that day, you die.
Bedbugs hide in crevices and cracks until they venture out for a snack. Detection and eradication can be tricky because these little critters are hard to locate. David Erik Swanson from Patriot Pest Control just got a bedbug detection dog to ease the process (see “Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite”), but he says some infestations have been so bad he didn't need help finding them.
Dragonflies are thought to be good luck, symbols of happiness and springtime. But they have a sinister side, too, with nicknames of “eye-snatcher” or the “devil’s darning needle.” These winged beauties have had millions of years to develop their reputations on planet Earth. The ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden is once again unveiling their secrets at the Dragonfly Festival, buzzing with “discovery stations” where patrons can learn to identify species by color, size and wing color.