Make no mistake about it, the battle against bed bugs is getting tougher and tougher and has now become an all-out war. They are fast breeders, stealth hiders and they are out for blood…yours.
These evasive pests are small, nocturnal foes that can often go undetected until they have established a full-blown infestation in your home. Chances are you will see bites, dark stains and other telltale signs before you actually see a single bed bug.
But there is a new defensive on the march in the pest control world that can detect these blood-suckers before they get out of hand. Turns out, man’s best friend may be a bed bugs worst nightmare. The newest detection tools in the battle are specially trained dogs who have an uncanny ability to sniff out
live bed bugs with a reported 97% success rate. Humans have a hard time locating infestations because of the small size, ability to hide and nocturnal habits. You may see signs, but you may never see the actual live bug. Not so for dogs. They have the ability to sniff out bed bugs quickly, often catching them in the early stages of infestation before things get out of hand.
Getting Ready for Battle
Recruits for this specialized training often come from rescue shelters and pounds which is good for dogs but bad for bed bugs. Certain breeds, such as hounds, beagles and terriers are often the best choices because of their centuries old breeding in searching for prey. While particular breeds are better at the task than others, the key for a successful bed bug dog is their sense of smell, energy level and ability to learn. It also helps in the search process if the breeds used are small enough to get into tight places such as in and behind furniture.
The actual training consists of exposing the K9 candidates to various stages of bed bug evolution from eggs to adults. The goal is to not only develop the skill of sniffing out bed bugs, but to be able to sniff out live ones to confirm an actual infestation. The ability to confirm an active infestation is important in preventing unnecessary expenses that come with methods such as fumigation and prevents the need for unnecessary pesticides being used in a home or business.
The advantage of being able to determine if there is an existing infestation becomes even more important in large facilities such as hospitals, hotels and other multi-unit buildings. The dog’s keen sense of smell and quickness results in a tailor-made solution for these types of structures. Health and economic concerns are multiplied greatly, so confirming an active infestation quickly becomes even more important. So whether it’s your home and family, your hotel and guests, there are some very sound reasons for letting these dogs man the front lines in the war against bed bugs.