Can you depend on man’s best friend?

Man’s best friend has proven to be efficient and useful for helping detect a wide range of things such as drugs, bombs, fugitives, mold, and termites. Many scent detection companies      are referring to a dog’s help to detect bed bugs. However, many find man’s best friend unreliable and limited in the detection of bed bugs. When considering a scent detection company one must look at how frequently do the dogs give false positive alerts and how often do they fail to find bed bugs. It would be best to read the reviews of several companies you are considering prior to using their services. The use of canine scent detection can be promising in the detection of bed bugs; however, it is still an evolving method.

It is very important to be aware that every bed bug detection dog and handler team is different and you must find out what to expect from the team conducting the inspection. A sufficiently trained dog should be able to identify very small numbers of live bed bugs within your home. Further, the dogs should have the capability to tell the difference between live bugs and the eggs from a left over infestation such as fecal spotting, caste skins, empty egg shells, and carcasses. Some dogs have been trained to detect multiple scents which may make it difficult to interpret a dog’s alerts from mold to bed bugs; this causes confusion as to what the dog is alerting the team handler of.

Using dogs as an inspection tool is not always effective. We are depending on a dog’s sense of smell to alert us of any bed bug presence. However, depending on the location of the bed bugs, the air flow, and temperature, bed bugs can be present but the odor is simply not available to the dog. If bed bugs are located well above the dog’s head, and the air flow is pulling the scent upwards, the dog may not alert. There could be bed bugs high up on a wall within the cracks of the ceiling and the dogs will not be able to detect them. This can cause doubt in many of a dog’s ability to detect accurately.

On the other hand however, there are just as many circumstances where a dog will alert on bed bugs that are proven difficult or unlikely for an inspector to find. For example, dogs have been known to find as little as two bugs behind a baseboard, or eggs hidden within the fibers of a carpet. Dogs are known to alert the inspector of bugs hiding inside the box spring without the inspector having to take the mattress and box spring off. If that’s impressive, just imagine how a dog can alert to bed bugs that hide behind a heavy entertainment center without having to move it.

All in all, you have a choice to make; you can put all your trust in the dog’s ability to alert you of any presence of bed bugs and eggs, or you can use the dog as a guild and then follow it up with an in-depth inspection to confirm the dog’s findings. This would involve removing the mattress and box spring, take off the outlet switch, pull up the carpet, remove the baseboard, empty and move the entertainment center, and go through the pile of clothing and stuffed animals where the dog alerted.

If you think you are experiencing bed bugs, please consult with your professional pest control provider; who is better equipped to handling the job that can provide you with both a canine detection alert and an experienced expert handler.