5 Frequently Asked Questions About Bed Bug Detection Dogs

Why are dogs used for bed bug detection?

Bed bugs emit a unique scent that no other insect does.  Because dogs have a sense of smell that is 40 times better than a human’s they can detect odors that we can’t.  Small bed bugs are the size of a sesame seed and a full grown bug is the length of a grain of rice. This makes detecting them with the human eye very difficult especially if they’re hiding inside mattresses, along baseboards or in the folds of a couch.

How do bed bug detecting dogs work?

Using their keen sense of smell bed bug detection dogs enter an area where bed bugs are suspected. They sniff along crevices, around and in furniture and in any other area bed bugs are known to hide or lay eggs.

When they detect the odor indicating a bed bug is present they notify their handler with an alert. Typically this means sitting down, looking at the handler and then pointing with their nose to the area they have detected. They continue this notification for every area they find the correct scent.

How does a dog become a working bed bug detector dog?

Bed bug detection dogs are highly trained service dogs. They are selected to enter training with a school such as the Florida Canine Academy. The school carefully choose dogs with the appropriate temperament, drive and energy for the job.

Typical training for a dog to be certified in bed bug detection is between 600 and 800 hours.  To maintain their efficacy, working bed bug detection dogs require continual training and testing in controlled environments to ensure they continue to be effective in sniffing out bed bugs.

Along with training for the dog, bed bug detection dog handlers should also undergo extensive training. The dog and handler work as a team and must have good rapport and communication for the best results.

Why are bed bug dogs the best choice for treating bed bugs?

As the bed bug problem continues to grow in Texas, so does their resistance to traditional pest control methods.  They are very resistant to chemical treatments and can continue to grow and thrive even after a home, apartment, hotel or business has received a bed bug treatment.  Frequently this means that the homeowner believes their problem has been cured when bed bugs actually still remain.

If signs of bed bugs exist in one area of a home it’s likely that they’ve already spread but haven’t yet made their presence known. The human eye can search for signs like spots on mattresses, itchy bites and actually seeing the live bugs but it’s not uncommon for bugs to survive in other areas without leaving signs.

Are bed bug dogs accurate?

Bed bug detection dogs can locate both live bugs and their eggs with 97% accuracy. This means that they will detect the presence of bed bugs in areas beyond where they have been spotted or where there’s indication of a bed bug infestation. With this knowledge, pest control companies that specialize in bed bug treatment can successfully target every area with a problem, often long before the human eye can detect the severity of the infestation.