Do you suspect you may have bed bugs, but aren't sure? Some of the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation can mimic other things. The telltale blood spots on the sheets may come from tiny cuts you got from shaving your legs and didn't realize it. They could also be a natural discoloration of the fabric. Any itching bites you get could come from any number of insects, and you may not have gotten them from your bed. You could have been bitten by anything anywhere, as some insect bites take a while to start itching. You may not be able to see bed bugs when you inspect your bed, because they are small and good at hiding.
There are now dogs that have been trained to sniff out bed bugs, and several bed bug companies across the country are using them. The dogs produce highly accurate results, proving that a dog's nose is one of the most sensitive instruments in the world. Once you know you have bed bugs, you can set about getting your house treated for them, even if you never actually see one.
Here's what you need to know about the new bed bug-sniffing dogs and whether you should find a company that uses them to diagnose your potential bed bug issue.
Bed Bug-Sniffing Dogs Can Get the Job Done ASAP
A bed bug-sniffing dog can detect bed bugs in just minutes of starting its inspection. This means the bed bug company that employs the dog is in and out of your house, business, dorm, or hotel in record time. A human inspection can take hours, as the person has to do a thorough visual examination for the bed bugs.
A well-trained dog eliminates the need for that, allowing you to get your privacy back quickly. It's the most convenient way of detecting bed bugs.
Dogs Trained to Sniff Bed Bugs Have a Very High Rate of Accuracy
Dogs can detect a multitude of smells, many of which are beyond human perception. They are also able to distinguish between hundreds of thousands of different smells with ease (and often more). Therefore, it should come as no surprise that bed bug-sniffing dogs have a 96 percent accuracy rate, according to the New York Times. This is in sharp contrast to the only 30 percent rate of accuracy among human visual inspectors.
Dogs Undergo Rigorous Training to Be Bed Bug Detectors
Dogs are increasingly being used by real estate inspection companies and pest control companies for bed bug detection, and they undergo rigorous training to do their jobs. They are trained at a facility in High Springs, Florida (the only place in the country that currently trains bed bug-sniffing dogs), learning to detect the unique scent of the bugs and their eggs.
After their two weeks of formal training, they are sent home with their handles, who are their bosses on the job. They live with the handlers and develop a bond while continuing their training. Handlers keep bed bugs in containers in their homes, allowing the scent to go to different places, but keeping the bugs from escaping.
They put the bugs in increasingly challenging places to see if the dogs can find them. They get rid of dead bed bugs and bed bug feces, so the dogs learn to only recognize the scent of the live bugs and their eggs.
Handlers "pay" the dogs by feeding them whenever they successfully find the bugs. They also have to feed the bugs by allowing them to feast on their own arms once a month. All of this training ensures the dogs are ready to do their jobs as highly accurate bed bug detectors when they go out to work.
Dogs are increasingly being used as the front line in bed bug detection. Anyone who is concerned about bed bugs would be making a smart decision to hire a company that uses dogs to detect them.
Dogs provide the most accurate results available in the industry. If a dog detects bed bugs, you know you really have them and it's time to call the exterminator to get rid of them.