Bed bug Dogs: All You Need to Know

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Written By Stephane

Bed bugs have become very prominent in recent years, posing problems to many people. According to statistics from 2022, bed bugs infest 20% of homes in all 50 states each year. As such, there has been an increase in the demand in the pest control industry for services to detect bed bugs at homes, offices, schools, and other places.

Bed bugs are incredibly tiny, wingless, reddish-brown insects that like to usurp the comfort of homes by inhabiting beds, pillows, furniture, floors, cracks, and crevices of walls. They are essential “bugs” that feed on human blood.

While some people think they have bed bugs but have no visual evidence. Others know they have bed bugs but are adamant about seeing the infestation locations. Fortunately, there are several bed bug detection products on the market that can be used to resolve these dilemmas, the most effective proven canine bed bug inspections. 

What is a bed bug dog?

A bed bug dog is a dog that has been trained and conditioned to sniff out bed bugs and bed bug infestations found in any area. They provide the ideal, cost-effective remedy for anyone convinced they have bed bugs but are adamant about checking for bed bug infestation in their home or surrounding. 

This article provides everything you need to know about bed bug detection dogs, probably the best you’ll find online. So you don’t want to stop reading here. 

How do canine bed bug inspections find bed bugs?

Canine bed bug inspection comes down to the dog’s training. At about a year and a half or two years, some dogs are trained to become bed bug dogs by introducing them to the smell of live bed bugs. As with regular dog training, they, too, are rewarded with treats whenever they accurately identify the presence of any bed bug by sniffing.

This training goes on for about two months to ensure that the dogs become very accurate at detecting the presence of bed bugs.

Typically, when put in a house to detect bed bugs, the dogs will walk around the house sniffing even inaccessible cracks with a certified pest control technician monitoring them. When they sniff any form of the bed bug infestation or a live bed bug, they will either bark, jump or react in a way the pest control technician has been trained to understand.

The technician will check to identify a live bed bug. Then, recommending any treatment options in cases where the dogs indicate that there are neither live bed bugs nor bed bug infestations. The pest control technician may still analyze the area in search of any live bed bugs before declaring the place bed bug-free after seeing nothing.

How accurate are canine bed bug inspections?

Although reported to be entirely accurate, there are very few studies on the effectiveness of a canine bedbug inspection. Among the existing ones, some have shown that bed bug sniffing dogs are not 100% accurate as they sometimes give false positive and false negative results.

Also, research has proven that bed bud dogs are way more accurate in controlled environments than in field conditions where all sorts of odors are present. Besides, the accuracy of bed bug sniffing dogs is not only dependent on the dogs but also on the dog handlers.

Keeping aside the scientific jargon, pest control companies that use bed bug dogs to detect bed bugs will assure you that their dogs are 100% accurate at detecting bed bugs. 

Although there is no solid evidence to support the efficacy of bed bug dogs, they’ve been proven to be adept in detecting bed bug infestations in several instances.

Advantages of using a bed bug dog to detect bed bugs.

They are accurate

For decades, dogs have held an advantage over several animals because of their keen sense of smell. For this reason, some are trained and employed in several fields, such as the defense and medical fields, where they are used to detect drugs, weapons, and cancer and even aid in searching for missing persons. 

Seeing all this, we can confidently speculate that dogs can find anything with their keen sense of smell as long as they are given specialized targeted training. Bed bug dogs are not an exception to this.

So far, bed bug dogs are quite accurate in detecting bed bug infestation in several cases. They are meticulous and capable of detecting bed bugs even in areas inaccessible to humans, like cracks and crevices of walls.

They can detect a bed bug at any stage of its life cycle.

This is one of the most incredible abilities of certified bed bug dogs. There are trained to detect bed bugs’ egg, nymph, and adult stages. All seven stages of the life cycle of the bed bug Cimex lectularius can be seen by them.

So, anyone who believes they have bed bugs but cannot find any should utilize bed bug dogs that can sniff even their viable eggs.

They are fast

Naturally, dogs are fast runners with a keen sense of smell. This is why they can be trained and used as sniffers. For very large buildings that need to be screened for the presence of bed bugs, bed bug sniffing dogs can get the job done faster than other bed bug detection methods.

They are not invasive.

Bed bug dogs detect bed bugs with their keen sense of smell only. As such, you won’t need to pull up carpets, beds, or chairs for them to detect bed bugs. Their strong sense of smell is highly advantageous and convenient for those who would rather not ramshackle their homes or offices during bed bug detection.

They are affordable

Using bed bug detection dogs to find bed bugs is relatively affordable.

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They are very convenient.

You won’t have to disassemble your furniture or bed for a bed bug dog to do the job. This reduces the stress on home or business owners who would have to clean up after completing the detecting process.

Bed bug dog vs. visual inspection vs. monitoring devices: Which is best?

It is natural to compare solutions to problems and pick out the best. Here, we will briefly discuss the main benefits and drawbacks of 2 other bed bug detecting techniques so that you can compare them to bed bug sniffing dogs and decide which you think is best.

Visual bed bug inspection

This technique for finding bed bugs is available for some time. As the name suggests, this detection is done by a trained bed bug specialist. The more experienced they are, the better. They visually search for any evidence that indicates the presence of bed bugs, such as live bed bugs, bed bug fecal markings, and shed skin. 

This method is advantageous because its positive results are 100% accurate since they are always backed by physical evidence. It is disadvantageous in that it will fail to detect the presence of bed bugs if they are in the egg or nymph stage that people can only see using a microscope.

In short, the visual inspection method can only guarantee 100% accuracy for its positive but not negative results. Moreover, it is time-consuming, not inexpensive, and entirely depends on how skilled, experienced, and focused the specialist is.

Bed bug monitoring devices

Bed bug monitoring devices are quite effective in detecting and trapping bed bugs. However, they must be left at the location for about 7 to 14 days. 

With this method, the positive results are usually 100% accurate, even though the technique is very time-consuming.

Compared to the above methods, bed bug sniffing dogs are advantageous in that; 

  • They are relatively faster

Bed bug sniffing dogs are faster at detecting bed bug infestations than visual inspection and monitoring devices. They can sniff an average house within hours, unlike visual inspection and monitoring devices that will take a day or a couple of days.

  • They are relatively cheaper
  • They are less invasive

Unlike the other methods, they negate the need to pull off carpets or dismantle beds or furniture.

  • They are more accurate.

They can detect all life cycle stages of bed bugs, be it the egg or nymph stage.

Although bed bug sniffing dogs have several advantages over the other two methods, they are disadvantageous in that.

  • Bedbug sniffing dogs are generally trained to detect infestations before they become a severe problem. However, this technique might not be necessary if there are thousands of bed bugs in your home or office. Typically, you could simply check underneath your mattress by raising it, which would be problematic for dogs looking into hayscraper needles. 
  • The results’ accuracy significantly depends on how well the dogs were trained and their state at the inspection time. Poorly trained bed bug dogs will give many false results, which is quite dangerous.
  • Even certified bed bug sniffing dogs can give false results. Reportedly, there have been cases where some bed bug sniffing dogs gave false positive results. 
  • There is a need for a reliable dog handler. 

Remark! 

Weighing the pros and cons, most people believe that bed bug detection dogs are best for detecting bed bugs because they give instant, usually accurate results. Moreover, it has been shown that a bed bug sniffing dog is more accurate (95%) at detecting bed bugs than visual inspection (35%) and monitoring devices. 

Conclusion

In this article, we have mentioned three methods that can be used to detect bed bugs. Namely, visual inspection, monitoring devices, and bed bug sniffing dogs. Of them all, we put the focus on bed bug detection dogs that have recently gained popularity.

A bed bug sniffing dog is trained to effectively detect bed bugs at any stage of its life cycle. They can detect both live infestation and viable bed bug eggs. They are quite fast and meticulous at detecting bed bugs found even in hidden cracks and crevices of walls. 

For anyone who thinks or knows they have bed bugs and would like to find live infestation or bed bug eggs, hire a service that utilizes dogs to get it done for you.

FAQs

Can regular dogs sniff bed bugs?

Generally, dogs have a keen sense of smell and will likely smell anything. However, regular dogs can not serve as bed bug dogs. They have not received specialized training to specifically sniff bed bugs, even in the presence of other prominent scents.

So, regular dogs can not be used as bed bug sniffing dogs unless trained from about a year and a half old.

What are the early signs of bed bug infestation?

There are several signs of bed bug infestation in a home, office, school, or other areas. If bed bugs have inhabited a room, you will likely see some or all of the following.

  • Live bed bugs
  • dead bed bugs
  • Viable bed bug eggs
  • Shed skins
  • Bed bug feces and stains that give off a noticeable smell

How to tell if bed bugs have infected you?

They are several signs that indicate a bed bug infestation. Some include

  • Unexplainable blood stains on beddings
  • Bed bug bites on your skin

Is it difficult to get rid of bed bugs?

It is easy to attract bed bugs but quite difficult to eradicate. Although challenging, they are not impossible to eliminate. The difficulty increases with the increase in the level of infestation. 

About 2 to 4 treatment sessions can eliminate bed bugs within 3 to 5 weeks. Anyone who suspects a bed bug infestation on their bed should endeavor to steam, freeze, or vacuum their bedding.

Can High temperatures kill bedbugs?

Yes! When exposed to temperatures above 113°F for 90 minutes or longer, bed bugs will die if the temperature is maintained. However, if exposed to 118°F, they will die in just 20 minutes. Interestingly, bed bug eggs must be exposed to 118°F for 1h:30 minutes to die out completely.

Thanks for reading till the end!

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