Bed Bug Dog Inspection

NYC bed bug dogs have an advantage over human bed bug inspectors when it comes to locating bed bugs—they can smell them. Humans also can sometimes smell bed bugs, which give off a sweet, musty odor that is often compared to rotten raspberries. But if we smell bed bugs at all, the odor is vague and difficult to pinpoint. It just seems to be “in the air.”

But dogs—with their much keener sense of smell—quickly zero in on bed bugs, finding them in minutes.

bed bug dog

NYC Bed Bug Dog

Humans—who are forced to rely on thorough visual inspections, literally looking in every crack and crevice—are much slower. A visual inspection could easily take more than an hour, and visual inspections often don’t uncover every area of infestation.

Specially-trained dogs have been taught to lead humans to the specific smell of bed bugs, and they do it quickly and with  95% accuracy. It’s very rare that a bed bug dog doesn’t find them all within a short time.

A Relatively New Bed Bug Strategy – History Of Bed Bug Dogs

Bed Bug Dog Inspection

Bed Bug Dog Inspection

While no exact timeline has been established, the use of bed bug dogs is a fairly recent strategy with some companies beginning to employ them in the early 2000s. It was noted that, as of 2009, there were 100 bed bug dogs thought to be used in the United States, according to The National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association.  However, the International Forensic Detection Canine Association now estimates that there are more than 200 now employed. This as a growing number of companies that now recognize their benefits as well as the increasing need to address the ongoing bed bug infestation that is spreading across the country in a more effective manner.

A Research-Based History Of Bed Bug Dogs

According to the journal article Ability of Bed Bug-Detecting Canines to Locate Live Bed Bugs and Viable Bed Bug Eggs:

“Detector dogs are useful for locating bed bugs because they use olfaction rather than vision. Dogs were trained to detect the bed bug (as few as one adult male or female) and viable bed bug eggs (five, collected 5–6 d after feeding) by using a modified food and verbal reward system. Their efficacy was tested with bed bugs and viable bed bug eggs placed in vented polyvinyl chloride containers. Dogs were able to discriminate bed bugs from Camponotus floridanus Buckley, Blattella germanica (L.), and Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), with a 97.5% positive indication rate (correct indication of bed bugs when present) and 0% false positives (incorrect indication of bed bugs when not present).”

The research available has also produced a strong foundation as to why more companies may want to adopt bed bug dogs as part of their inspection process:

“In a controlled experiment in hotel rooms, dogs were 98% accurate in locating live bed bugs. A pseudoscent prepared from pentane extraction of bed bugs was recognized by trained dogs as bed bug scent (100% indication). The pseudoscent could be used to facilitate detector dog training and quality assurance programs. If trained properly, dogs can be used effectively to locate live bed bugs and viable bed bug eggs.”

The green movement in pest management has also provided an impetus to look to bed bug dogs to help address this problem. Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently weighed in, indicating that there was the potential to certify bed bug detection dogs to add credibility to what they offer.

How Dog Handlers Train Bed bug Dogs

NYC Bed Bug dogs aren’t just born with this skill. Their remarkable sense of smell picks up all kinds of odors, so they have to be taught that the smell of bed bugs is what they’re after—just as dogs that sniff out bombs, drugs, and dead bodies also have to be trained to alert their handlers to those specific smells. .

adult bed bugs kept in a tube for dog training purposes

Adult bed bugs kept in a tube for bed bug dog training purposes

Selection of Bed bug Dogs

Breeds that are known for tracking—such as beagles or puggles—are the ideal choices for bed bug inspection dogs. Individual characteristics that distinguish potential bed bug dogs are energy level, hunting ability, physical strength, and willingness to accept discipline. Dogs that don’t possess these attributes are rarely selected for bed bug training.

The Training Process Of Bed bug Dogs

The task of teaching dogs to react to the smell of bed bugs is not an easy one. It takes hundreds of hours of training—sometimes as much as a 1,000—to adequately prepare a bed bug inspection dog. This process includes training on:

  • socialization and obedience
  • scent discrimination
  • search patterns
  • building layouts
  • riding in vehicles without being a disruption.

The handlers of bed bug inspection dogs also need training that teaches them how to interact with the dogs and care for them.  Handlers learn how to guide the dogs, how to read their signals, obedience techniques, and canine CPR and first aid. This handler training takes at least a week, often longer.

Why us bed bugs dogs

Here are 5 facts about bed bug dogs that explain why you should consider using one if you suspect you have an infestation:

  1. Bedbugs dogs increase the detection of bed bugs with up to 95% accuracy (as reported in the study by the Univ. of Florida).
  2. A well trained bed bug dog can cover 120 hotel rooms in one day!
  3. Bed bug dogs are trained to detect bud bugs in movie theaters, boats, and cars along with homes and hotels/motels.
  4. They are able to focus on an extremely localized area. In a largely bed bug free home, a scent dog can spot the lone bug in a single room.

They are energy efficient; not requiring the use of electricity to power lights, as the dogs use their sense of smell, and bedbugs dogs can cover larger search areas than humans in the same amount of time, further conserving energy. Their improved accuracy means a possible reduction in the use of pesticide.

Consider hiring a reputable company that uses trained scent dogs for your bed bug problem, and discover for yourself yet another way that dogs are truly “Man’s Best Friend”!

Bed Bug Dogs Also Earth’s Best Friend – Going Green with NYC Bed Bug Dogs

Here’s why a bed bug dog is environmentally-friendly facet of an overall treatment strategy:

  • Unlike other types of bed bug inspection, identification and treatments methods that may utilize equipment or pesticides, the inspection dogs do not require any chemicals or high levels of energy consumption to do their job effectively. While these other strategies can be effective and still relatively safe, they do tend to have a greater impact on the environment and resources than is the case when using a bed bug dog as an inspection tool.
  • The dogs can cover a lot of area quickly, which does save a significant amount of lighting and other resources. A human inspector must rely on a more methodical – and not as reliable – search by using the naked eye, a magnifying lens, and a powerful flashlight – and typically will require electricity-based lighting and either air conditioning or heat based on the time of year. This means the longer the inspection time, the more resources are used.
  • The dogs are able to uncover more hiding places, which means more direct treatment of the affected areas rather than having to use multiple methods or treatments over a longer period of time every time a new hiding spot is uncovered. This also saves resources and energy over the long term by handling the problem in a shorter treatment period. This will also require a lessened need and volume of harsh chemicals.

As the media has reported, more cities like Detroit are turning to bed bug dog inspection companies to address the growing infestations. In noting the success rate of bed bug dogs, the article cites an often quoted study that was completed at the University of Florida, which concluded that these dogs have a 97% accuracy rate when detecting bed bugs, including even uncovering those bed bugs in the early stages of development and those in hard to reach hiding places.

Bed Bug Dogs: Summary

In summary, here are the main points of why dogs are better than humans at detecting bed bugs:

  • Dogs have a natural ability to detect bed bugs that technology cannot match.
  • The distinct scent capability of a dog can break odors and smells down to parts per trillion in order to uncover bed bugs at all stages of their life cycle, including eggs.
  • Dogs can access difficult spaces, including tiny cracks and crevices that people cannot reach, which is most often where bed bugs like to hide.

When you rely on The Bed Bug Inspectors,  we act quickly so that the bed bug problem doesn’t spread throughout your property. This is essential in getting the problem under control. Once this has been successful, we can completely eliminate your bed bug infestation. 


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