You might have bed bugs in your home or business and not even know it. What’s more, a human being, even one that knows what the tiny, apple seed-sized insects look like, may only to be able to spot around 30% of all bed bugs. That’s where bed bug dogs come in. The pet detectives can find the bugs that you can’t. In fact, a bed bug dog may have a 96% detection rate for finding bed bugs!
Here is some more information on bed bug dogs, including frequently asked questions about how the canines handle finding bed bugs:
What kinds of breeds are bed bug dogs?
Some people think that bed bug dogs are beagles. While it is true that bed bug dogs can be beagles, other dogs can also do the job. Labrador Retrievers, terriers, poodles, basenjis, Belgian malinois, and other breeds of dogs have worked as bed bug sniffing dogs. Mixed-breed dogs have also worked as bed bug dogs. Basically, the dog needs to have a keen sense of smell, the ability to be trained to sniff out bed bug dogs, and the agility to maneuver into and around small spaces. That’s because the dog will be moving around a lot to sniff out the bugs.
How are bed bug dogs trained?
Bed bug dog trainers train dogs to sniff out live bugs. They work with them each day, even when the bed bug dogs are not on a job. That means that the bed bug dog trainers have to keep bed bugs around for the dogs to practice with. In many cases, the bed bug trainers have the dogs live with them.
Most bed bug trainers keep the bed bugs in what is known as a hive for training purposes – the container keeps the insects from getting loose, but the open mesh means that the dogs can still sniff them. The bed bug trainer mixes up where to hide the bugs, whether it is a bed, bookshelf, under the kitchen sink, or wherever bed bugs might hide in real life.
Not every dog can be a bed bug dog. They have to be skilled at it, and be able to follow commands, and maneuver round to where the bugs are, even if they are under rugs or high above.
And yes, the dogs work for food. That is their motivation for finding the bugs – getting treats.
The dogs let their handlers know where the bugs are via making cues to them, such as pawing the place where they found the bugs. Then the bed bug handler visually confirms the presence of bed bugs.
Are the dogs certified?
If you need to hire a company for bed bug detection, you may want to make sure that they are certified by the Integrated Bed Bug Management Association (IBBMA). The organization certifies not just the bed bug detectors, but the bed bug dogs as well.
Lisa Swan writes for a variety of sites, including Bed Bug Finders LLC.