Bed bug detection dogs are a crucial tool for exterminators and pest control for locating, checking for, and treating bed bugs and then confirming that treatments were successful or if a second round is needed.
Dogs that are trained to detect bed bugs must be carefully trained and properly kept, but can provide one of the best tools that bed bug exterminators have. Here’s everything you could want to know about these amazing dogs.
What are bed bug detection dogs?
Bed bug detection dogs are canines that have been specially trained to sniff out the presence of bed bugs. They use their powerful sense of smell to locate bed bugs, even when they’ve hidden away in tiny cracks and crevices. Once a bed bug is found, the dog will sit or lie down to alert its handler – the exterminator or pest control professional.
While there is not necessarily any limit on what breeds can be trained to become bed bug detection dogs, since a good sense of smell and ability to be trained are very important traits, Labradors are a popular breed to be trained since they epitomize both of these traits.
How are bed bug detection dogs trained?
The training process for a bed bug detection dog is rigorous and requires a great deal of time and patience. It usually takes around six months to fully train a bed bug detection dog, though some may be able to complete their training in as little as four months.
The first step in training a bed bug detection dog is getting them used to the scent of bed bugs. This is usually done by exposing the dog to bed bugs in a controlled environment, such as a lab. Once the dog is comfortable with the scent of bed bugs, they can begin to be trained to detect them in real-world situations.
This training usually takes place in homes or hotels that are known to have bed bugs. The dog will be taken through the property and allowed to sniff around for the presence of bed bugs. When they find one, they will sit or lie down to alert their handler.
They are encouraged with treats that are rewarded when they successfully indicate bed bugs but withheld from false positives. They get used to being rewarded for proper identification when clearing a room, and this is why they are often fed snacks by a handler throughout the process of clearing out a house.
Why are bed bug detection dogs used?
Bed bug detection dogs are used because they are extremely accurate in their detection of bed bugs. Studies have shown that bed bug detection dogs have a 97% accuracy rate in detecting bed bugs, which is much higher than the accuracy rate of human inspectors.
This high accuracy rate means that bed bug detection dogs can save a lot of time and money for exterminators and pest control professionals. They can quickly and efficiently locate bed bugs so that they can be treated, which prevents the infestation from spreading further.
How much do bed bug detection dogs cost?
The cost of a bed bug detection dog varies depending on a number of factors, including but not necessarily limited to:
- Age of the dog
- Breed of the dog
- The training they’ve received
- The intelligence of the dog
All that said, on average, a bed bug detection dog will cost between $10,000 and $15,000. This is a serious investment for exterminators, which is why the quality of training is so important.
While this may seem like a lot of money, it’s important to remember that bed bug detection dogs can save a lot of time and money in the long run. Their high accuracy rate means that they can quickly locate bed bugs so that they can be treated, which prevents the infestation from spreading further.
Are there any disadvantages to using bed bug detection dogs?
There are a few disadvantages to using bed bug detection dogs.
First, they are relatively expensive. While their high accuracy rate can save money in the long run, the initial investment can be costly.
Second, bed bug detection dogs require ongoing training and maintenance. They must be regularly exposed to bed bugs so that they can remain accurate in their detection. Additionally, their handlers must be properly trained in how to care for and maintain the dog.
Lastly, bed bug detection dogs can only work for a certain amount of time before they need to take a break. This is because their sense of smell can become overloaded after extended periods of time. This is the equivalent of high pressure, high-intensity, high-concentration job for a trained dog. Because of this, they can only work for short periods of time before they need to rest.
Despite these disadvantages, bed bug detection dogs are still one of the most accurate and efficient ways to detect bed bugs. Their high accuracy rate and ability to quickly locate bed bugs make them a valuable tool in the fight against these pests. Many times they can find sources or pockets of stubborn bed bugs that are going to be thoroughly hidden from even the most experienced of exterminators.
If you think you may have bed bugs, contact a pest control professional to have them inspected. If bed bugs are found, they will likely recommend bringing in a bed bug detection dog to help locate all of the bed bugs so that they can be treated.