December 3, 2021

Dogs are one of our favorite furry friends. Not only are they loyal, but they have a keen sense of smell. Many dogs can detect if your home has bed bugs.

The average canine has 300 million receptors in its nose. To put this in perspective, most humans only have 30 million. Due to their impressive canine scent detection skills, dogs are excellent at locating objects that a person would have difficulty finding, including bedbugs.

Since these bugs feed on people, you must eradicate them as soon as possible. With an experienced pest control professional and bedbug sniffing dogs, you can get rid of your pest problem quickly and effectively.

History of Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs

The impressive scent detection capability of canines has been recognized throughout history. Working canines were trained to sniff out narcotics, explosives, and people for years. Eventually, the pest control industry integrated canine teams into their business model for pests and bed bug detection.

Pest control companies first started using dogs to detect termites in the late 1970s. During this time, termites were a much more significant problem than bed bugs due to excessive pesticide use. However, in the early 2000s, a new pesticide-resistant species of bed bugs began infesting homes across the country.

With a new type of bed bug arising, pest control professionals needed to find a new way, besides a visual inspection, to detect and eradicate the pests. That’s when they decided to introduce bed bug detection dogs to the industry. In the last decade, canine bed bug inspections have become one of the most effective ways to detect bed bugs.

During a canine inspection, the bed bug detection dog will sniff out every area of the home or building. When they find something, the dog alerts the handler so they can start the treatment process.

Types of Bed Bug Dogs

Although most canines have a fantastic sense of smell, there are certain dog breeds that a trained exterminator prefers to use. Typically, hunting dogs make the best team for bed bug detection. These breeds include terriers, beagles, and border collies.

beagle bed bug sniffing canine

Many pest experts prefer to use smaller dog breeds when finding bed bugs. Smaller dogs are often less intimidating to homeowners and can fit into more areas in a room. For example, a handler may lift the bed bug sniffing dog on top of a dresser or send them under the bed for a more thorough inspection.

How Reliable Are Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs?

A bed bug dog can have a 95% detection accuracy rate with proper training. Using a trained bed bug dog, a reputable pest company will earn certification from the National Entomology Scent Detection Association, NESDCA, and the National Pest Management Association. This certificate shows that the handler and the bed bug dog have the skills and knowledge to accurately find bed bugs in their life stages.

Study Results

In 2008, an Oxford journal published the successful results of testing dogs for bed bug inspections. This study aimed to test the accuracy of bed bug dogs that underwent proper training to locate both live bugs and viable eggs.

To do this, researchers placed the adult bed bugs and viable eggs into containers with polyvinyl chloride. These containers had a series of small holes to release just enough odor for the dogs to detect. The test results reflected a 97.5 % accuracy rate as the dogs could tell the difference between the scent of bed bugs and the German cockroaches, a species of termite.

As a second part of the test, researchers tested the trained bed bug dogs with live bed bugs, dead bed bugs, and bug feces. Once again, the trained dogs successfully produced an accuracy rate of 95%. They could easily find a bed bug just as easily as a group of them.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Trained Dog When You Have a Bed Bug Infestation?

Bed bug dogs are a great asset when you need to find bed bugs. Their powerful sense of smell makes early detection of bed bugs and other pests possible. Aside from high accuracy and a loveable attitude, there are several benefits of having a bed bug dog inspection.

Early Detection

Bed bugs are tiny and can fit into the most inconspicuous areas of your home. Bed bugs tend to fit into tight crevices, making it challenging to look for visual evidence.

Not only are bed bugs invasive, but they can quickly breed and spread around your home. Detecting them early is critical to minimize the infestation and treat the area as soon as possible. Dogs with the proper training can find a pest before it hatches.

They Can Locate Bed Bugs in Multiple Areas

A dog’s impressive canine scent detection skills allow them to detect eggs and live bed bugs in more than one location. With the proper training, dogs can sniff out an entire building and locate the invasive bed bugs.

From movie theaters to home offices, a trained dog can locate the infestation with impressive accuracy, which is especially helpful since bed bugs can hide anywhere in your home. When the human eye isn’t enough, analyzing scents can lead to bed bug eradication.


Instead of going through mattress encasements and pulling apart furniture to find the pests, dogs sniff around to locate the live insects and eggs. This not only creates less mess but saves time and produces more accurate results.

How to Prepare for a Canine Inspection

The best way to prepare for a canine inspection is to make room for the dog. This includes decluttering and putting away other distractions like food. It also helps to shift the furniture in your home so that the dog has room to sniff around.

The canine can effectively sniff out and alert the handler of any bed bug infestations by having a clutter-free home. They can tell the difference between bed bugs and other household pests such as ants or cockroaches with proper training. In some cases, the pest control company may bring in a second dog or second canine team for a more thorough inspection.

Do you suspect a pest problem in your home or business? Call Discreet Bed Bug Inspections at (917) 337-3202 to schedule an inspection in New York City.

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