Most customers are unaware that bed bug dogs even exist. Yet this service when completed by the properly trained and maintained team has been proven to be a very effective, accurate and reliable means of Bed Bug detection.
Nobody wants Bed Bugs and even if they do have them it is rare that they speak about them. Cimex K9 which is located in Phoenix, Arizona has performed tens of thousands of inspections over the last 8 years. We have developed a Bed Bug Treatment that begins and ends with our Bed Bug dog service. Read on and you will learn why we use dogs for Bed Bug detection.
The Orgins of the Domesticated Dog are not exactly known, however it has always been a mutually beneficial relationship. Humans benefited by having protection, assistance hunting and herding. Dogs benefited with a steady source of food, IF they performed.
Research at Auburn University’s Veterinary School shows dogs can detect a few odor molecules per billion parts of air. Which would be like picking out one grain of sand out of a 20 square foot section of beach. Not only do dogs have the ability to perceive tiny levels of a substance, they can also separate different odors. You may smell soup cooking in the kitchen, but they would be able to distinguish every ingredient in the soup.
Detection Dogs have been used in many other scent disciplines for many decades with great success. From explosive to contraband to recent cancer detection dog research. Using detection dogs to assist us with our needs is a mutually beneficial relationship that once entered into seems like common sense.
1. Detecting all evidence of bed bug infestations
- This type of training involves teaching the bed bug dog to alert on all evidence of bed bugs and eggs whether live or dead. It also includes bed bug fecal matter and cast skins.
- Bed Bug Dogs trained and maintained this way can be excellent for inspections before treatment or if there is a desire to remove ALL Bed Bug evidence.
- Example: A hotel wants all bed bug evidence removed from their rooms that had previous issues to avoid guests mistaking it for a current infestation.
- Bed Bug Dogs can alert on as little as one speck of bed bug fecal matter or one bug.
2. Detecting Live Bed Bug Scent and Eggs Only
- This type of training involves proofing the bed bug dog so they only alert on the specific odor of live bed bugs and eggs.
- Bed Bug Dogs trained and maintained this way can be used for pre-treatment inspections, but are excellent for post-treatment inspections considering it is very difficult to remove all Bed Bug evidence.
Bed Bug Dog Rewards:
- Food Reward vs. Toy Reward
1. Food reward dogs are very easy to find and train because you can manipulate almost any living being’s behavior with the use of food. Cimex K9 does not choose to use this method because of the large amount of food, crumbs and food odor present in the areas we normally inspect. When the dog can find the reward (food) during an inspection the dog no longer has a need to follow the rules of the game. Food reward dogs are normally more mellow and not nearly as intense and focused on the job. There are always exceptions to the rule and I have seen a few very focused food reward dogs, but this hasn’t been the norm.
- Example: A local pest control company has insisted that the customers stand outside of their home during the inspection so the canine won’t be distracted.
2. Toy reward dogs follow a very different motivation to get what they want. They are absolutely obsessed with their reward or toy that they want to play with and will work for it with extreme focus and intensity. These dogs will work anywhere, anytime with any type of distraction going on and never ever stop. The vast majority of all detection dogs worldwide in all scent disciplines are toy reward dogs. I’m sure there is an exception, but government agencies worldwide primarily use toy reward dogs. The drawback is the dogs’ intensity can be difficult to deal with when off the job since these dogs want to work constantly.
Bed Bug Dog Alerts:
1. All bed bug dogs should be trained as passive alert. Meaning they sit or stare at the odor source while they wait for the reward. I have never seen them trained otherwise because the aggressive alert has been mostly phased out in all scent disciplines due to the damage it causes from digging, chewing and scratching.
2. All alerts MUST be visually confirmed! If the police pull you over with a Drug K9 and the dog alerts on your car you are not under arrest or guilty even if you have a trunk full of illegal drugs. You are only under arrest when the vehicle is searched and the illegal drugs are found by the human handler. The same goes for Bed Bug Dogs. Pest control companies that operate their own Bed Bug Dogs make their money from selling treatment so be sure to insist on seeing the actual evidence when there is an alert.
The video below illustrates a bed bug dog hard at work. The level of odor was very minimal as only 3 bed bugs were at the location he alerted on with no other evidence present.
Bed Bug Dog Team Certification:
Why should it be mandatory all Bed Bug Dogs are certified?
- Improves and maintains the accuracy, dependability and performance of detector dog teams.
- Gives clients assurance that the search team is properly qualified.
- This one seems like common sense, but believe it or not it was happening. It is IMPOSSIBLE to certify a Scent Detection Team WITHOUT seeing/watching the team complete the test in a environment that would typically be searched for the scent that the team is testing for.
- The person providing the certification should be a third party and cannot have ANY monetary interest, or conflict of interest, IE: vendor.
- The certification should comply with the National Pest Management Association’s Best Management Practices for Bed Bugs.
Bed Bug Dog Research:
There have been many research studies over the years in regards to a variety of scent detection dogs. This particular study was completed by the University of Florida and pertains specifically to bed bug detection dogs.
If you are in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area contact us for more information on Bed Bug Treatment or Bed Bug Dog Inspections at no obligation to you. We are happy to speak with you and share our expertise. You can reach us at 888-928-4364