Do you suspect you might have bed bugs in your home or business? Did you know that exterminators often use scent dogs to sniff out bed bugs?

Bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), are pests that cause allergies and skin rashes when they bite humans. In addition to itchy bumps on the skin, people often suffer insomnia, anxiety, and other mental health issues when they have infestations of bed bugs.

Detecting even low-level infestation is essential for exterminators to eradicate bedbugs and reduce their spread. However, exterminators have very few effective methods for detecting low numbers of bed bugs. Current plans include visual inspection, the use of monitoring devices, and most recently, canine scent detection.

The training and use of bed-bug-sniffing dogs have become widespread in bed bug testing over the past decade. However, many people question the accuracy of these bug-sniffing dogs. Read on as we examine the issue.

Signs That You Might Have a Bed Bug Infestation

How do you know if you have bed bugs? Bed bugs live in groups inside mattresses and bed frames. These insects can enter your home on clothing, luggage, and bedding.

You might have bed bugs if:

  • Your skin itches in the mornings
  • You find blood spots on your sheets
  • Bed bug feces or eggshells build up in your mattress
  • A musty odor lingers in your bedroom

Do you notice any of the above warning signs? An inspection is necessary before implementing a bed bug treatment.

What Do Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs Do?

Dogs play an active role in detecting missing people, narcotics, and explosives. Scent detection dogs possess up to 300 million receptors in their noses. The part of a dog’s brain that can analyze smells is also 40 times larger than a human’s.

Extermination companies started using bed bug dogs during the early 2000s. Today, scent dogs play a crucial role in the pest control industry. A canine inspection needs to meet several standards to ensure accuracy.

bed bug sniffing dog in the house

How Accurately Can Sniffing Dogs Detect Bed Bugs?

A 2008 study from the University of Florida tested the abilities of bed bug detection dogs. The study found that:

  • The dogs were 97.5% accurate in distinguishing bed bugs from other household pets.
  • The dogs were 95% accurate in distinguishing live bed bugs from bed bug debris, with a 3% false-positive rate.

The Florida dogs were 98% accurate in detecting six-bed bug vials in a hotel room with no false-positive alerts.

According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Economic Entomology, the accuracy of canine inspections depends on:

  • The dog trainers’ efficiency
  • The dog’s training
  • The unique abilities of both the dog and the dog handler

Four canine detection teams evaluated in this study exhibited significant variance in their scent detection rate.

The overall false-positive rate was 15%, and the detection rate was 44%. However, the canine teams didn’t work together for long, and some of the pairs worked together for less than a year.

These data suggest that a dog’s sense of smell is more effective than other methods at finding bed bugs, resulting in a significant relationship between dog alerts and the presence of bed bugs.

A dog’s training and experience will determine its bed bug detection accuracy. Pest control companies that prioritize dog training have a higher bed bug scent detection rate with few to no false positives.

The Benefits of a Canine Bug Inspection

Do you think you have a bed bug infestation affecting your entire apartment or house? You can use various methods to find bed bugs, including a visual inspection and bug traps.

However, a dog inspection is among the most effective tools for finding a low-level bed bug infestation. Let’s look at the benefits of canine scent detection.

1 – Early Detection

By the time you notice bed bugs, you probably already have an infestation. However, a bed bug detection dog can find these insects long before they become a significant problem. Dog alerts let you take early action, preventing bed bug infestations in your home.

2 – Quick Results

In infested apartments, detecting bed bugs can take a week. Bed bugs only feed once every five days, which is when a trap will pick up their movements.

On the other hand, canine scent detection is immediate. A bed bug detection dog will provide an alert on the spot, and you can take quick steps to prevent an infestation.

3 – Problem Area Location

A canine bed bug inspection lets you spot bed bug locations. Professionals only need to inspect the areas where the dog indicates an alert.

Direct treatment costs are lower. After a canine bed bug inspection, pest control teams don’t need to spray your whole house, saving time. Targeting specific areas prevents bed bugs from breeding again in the future.

4 – Viable Egg Detection

In addition to killing bed bugs, exterminators must also kill viable eggs from a previous infestation. When they hatch, you will have a re-infestation.

A dog’s alert can indicate live bed bugs, dead bed bugs, or viable eggs. If pest control professionals know where the eggs are, they can kill them, ensuring longer-lasting results and lower costs over the long run.

5 – Less Invasive Than a Visual Inspection

Before a visual inspection, you need to take your furniture apart and remove your mattress from the bed base.

However, a scent dog doesn’t require these steps to locate bed bugs. Keeping your furniture intact does not affect the dogs’ accuracy. All you need to do is make room for the dogs to move around your table. You also need to clean the area, removing distracting smells.

6 – Quick Inspection Process

Sniffing dogs only need a few minutes to detect all bed bugs in a room. A closer inspection is only necessary when the dog gives an alert.

These dogs’ speed and accuracy make them ideal not only for homes but also for large-scale inspections in schools, hotels, and apartment buildings.

Canine Bed Bug Inspections: Protect Your Health

Do you think you have bed bugs in your home, business, or rental property? At Discreet Bedbug Inspections, we use well-trained scent dogs to detect bed bugs accurately.

Our bed bug dogs are all commercially certified and received more than 600 hours of training. Learn more about our history and canine inspections today.

Contact us for a bed bug management plan, and keep your living space free of these pests. We will provide you with an accurate and complete report of our findings. Contact us today at 917-337-3202 to schedule a bed bug inspection. We offer our services in New York City and the Tri-State area.

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