LONDONERS concerned about the threat of Japanese knotweed can now call on man’s best friend to find out whether their property, or one they wish to buy, is affected by the country’s most invasive plant.

Ealing is one of the worst affected locations in the capital for it, according to Environet UK’s Japanese Knotweed Heatmap, Exposed, which identified 134 infestations within a 4km radius of the town centre.

Now, for the first time, a pair of one-year-old fox red labrador retrievers have been specially trained for Environet UK to detect Japanese knotweed rhizome, even in small quantities hidden beneath the ground.

Mick and Mack, are sniffing out knotweed for home owners and buyers, thanks to the 300 million or so receptors in their noses and a proportion of brain area dedicated to smell, which is 40 times larger than a human’s.

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They can cover a garden in a matter of minutes and will indicate by ‘freezing’, or staying completely still, when Japanese knotweed is detected.

Dog detection is the most precise method available to determine whether knotweed is present and can be carried out at any time of year.

Japanese knotweed can reduce a property’s value by around 10% and make it difficult to sell unless a treatment plan is in place.

Click here to watch a video of Mick and Mack in action.