Dogs are useful allies when it comes to assisting pest controllers in detecting common pests, such as bed bugs, present in homes and businesses. In 2011, certain breeds of dogs became certified for the purpose of assisting in the detection of pests.
Dogs have unique olfactory characteristics that can assist with detecting pests, such as bed bugs, in a residential home or/and other areas, along with hard-to-reach locations. To accurately detect these pests, the dog has to undergo high levels of consistent training, and they must be accompanied by pest control experts in investigation fields. If you think that you might have a bed bug infestation either in your business or home, here is more information on how dogs can help with what is known as a bed bug canine inspection.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny pests that like to take up residence in bedrooms. Once they have made their way into your home, they are active at night, when they like to feast on human blood. These pests live off the blood, which is why a bed or home infested by bed bugs will usually result in the occupants waking up each morning to new bites all over their bodies.
How Do Dogs Find Bed Bugs?
Researchers from the University of Florida conducted research in 2008 into the effectiveness of using dogs for bed bug detection. The dogs in this study underwent training to distinguish bed bugs from other common household pests, such as subterranean termites, German cockroaches, and Florida carpenter ants. The training involved using food as a reward system. The dog’s training also involved using the odour of bed bugs rather than sight, which is what helped the canines to be a lot more accurate. Bed bugs are pests that emit unique pheromones, and with the proper training, dogs can learn to recognize the scent.
This particular method also allows canines to inspect the areas that are either hidden or hard to reach for humans. Since bed bugs are so tiny and tend to take up residence behind walls and in crevices, this skill is very important.
The study demonstrated that if bed bugs are detected, the canines will start to paw or scratch close to the surface, which would notify their trainers or owners. The dogs displayed a 97.5% success, and they could also differentiate between dead or live bed bugs, exoskeletons, and eggs with 95% success.
For a bed bug canine inspection to be successful, it should also be performed with a professionally trained pest controller.
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What Type Of Dog Breeds Sniff Out Bed Bugs?
Beagles are the most common breed used to sniff out bed bugs. These dogs have physical features that provide them with a way to detect odors accurately in an environment. They have low-hanging ears that trap smells that are present in the air, and their noses use around 200 million scent receptors that are used for differentiating smells.
Used originally for the detection of rabbits, Beagles are a useful breed when it comes to identifying anything from contraband to pests. Some of the other dogs used to sniff out bed bugs include Belgian Shepherds, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers. Each of these breeds exhibits a keen sense of smell which can and has been used to track down many different things, such as wildlife, pests, and bed bugs. Similar to the Beagles, these breeds will also require proper training to become efficient in detecting bed bugs.
Today bed bug canines inspections can offer the most reliable and fastest method to detect live or dead bed bugs along with viable eggs. Below is a brief review of what you can inspect from this type of inspection:
- The dog handler (pest control technician) will start the process by assessing the area that requires an inspection to make sure that there is access available for the dog and that the area is prepared for the inspection.
- Human distraction and noise should be kept to a minimum to ensure the inspection environment is effective for the dog team.
- All the suspected areas will then be inspected thoroughly by the team.
- In most cases, it won’t be necessary for the pest controller and the dog to perform an inspection of the bathroom and kitchen.
- If the dog detects viable eggs or bed bugs, the handler of the dog will record these areas using sticky notes or enter the information into his/her mobile device.
- On completion of the canine inspection, the pest controller will then visually confirm that bed bugs are present in the area.
- The pest controller will then discuss the options for treatment with the client, which may include thermal remediation if necessary.
A canine inspection is usually completed in a few minutes. However, the time frame for an inspection can vary significantly depending on several factors. This can include the severity of the infestation, the size and number of rooms that require inspections, how well the area was prepared, and whether the rooms are cluttered or not.