Bed Bugs Sniffing Dogs
A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to and works at using its senses (almost always the sense of smell) to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, or blood. Bed Bug sniffing dogs are trained to work for food and love, not profits. Bed Bug detecting canines can “sweep” a standard hotel room in 2-3 minutes with pin-point accuracy. A dog’s “odor image” is significantly more complex than a human’s perception of photographs. For example, from a single drop of urine one canine can identify another K-9’s sex, diet, health and even determine whether this dog is dominant or submissive! Dog’s can easily distinguish between ten different odor types. They have been employed successfully to detect mold, termites, drugs and arson components. Use of Bed Bug detecting canines has been acknowledged in the court system as an effective tool. Bed Bug dogs are accurate over 90% of the time and identify Bed Bug harborage in walls, under floors and other inaccessible areas. Humans are traditionally limited to visual inspections rearing accurate results 30% of the time. Humans can take up to 20 minutes per room performing visual examinations! Not good.
A trained professional inspector will only detect visible signs of bed bugs in a room with an accuracy rate of only about 30%. To find activity inside walls, baseboards, even under carpets, a room would have to otherwise be stripped down beyond the bare walls! Due to a dog’s keen sense of smell, our trained dog Tracker can detect bed bugs even inside walls - with 90% accuracy, making his inspection a more thorough and accurate one. A more accurate detection means that if there is bed bug activity, Tracker will be alert to it and control measures can begin.
In the United States and elsewhere, dogs have been successfully used by law enforcement agencies to locate firearms, ammunition, explosives, illegal drugs, and missing persons. The same training used for these purposes is now being used to train dogs to search for bed bugs. Our dog, Tracker, can smell through walls, floors, and bedding - long before humans can see any visible signs. Tracker can crawl into tight spaces that human inspectors cannot. Early detection can prevent infestation from bed bugs by treating hot spots before the damage is done.
Tracker has completed more than 1000 hours of training, demonstrating his accuracy in detecting bed bugs. Tracker and all of our dog handlers are certified for bed bug detection by leading experts in the training of not just bed bug-sniffing, but mold-, bomb- and drug-sniffing dogs as well. Tracker is a powerful new weapon against the elusive bed bug and can inspect and detect these insects in homes and commercial buildings with an accuracy that human inspectors cannot match.
Gracie is the only dog working for a housing authority that has been certified by the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association (NESDCA). But she's certainly not the only dog sniffing out beg bugs. Dogs like Gracie are increasingly being used in private homes, hotels, and other businesses.
There are around 100 working bed bug dogs in the U.S. today, according to Greg Baumann, senior scientist at the National Pest Management Association. More are likely on the way. The Florida-based J & K Canine Academy has trained 60 dogs to detect bed bugs over the past three years and currently has a waiting list.
Well-trained dogs will certainly not have a hard time finding work. There's been a resurgence of bed bugs thanks to international travel, immigration, and other factors. Bed bugs are turning up in fancy hotels, hospitals, dorm rooms, private houses, and crowded apartment buildings.
And they're not restricted to your bedroom, although that's where they commonly reside. They can live in furniture, under loosened wallpaper, and a variety of other places. The Environmental Protection Agency held a National Bed Bug Summit in April 2009 because the insects have become so prevalent.
There's no evidence that bed bugs transmit disease, according to a recently published clinical review in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But still, dealing with bed bugs can be a major hassle. It can take a lot of time, and sometimes money, to banish them from your home.