Dogs have one of best senses of smell than any other animal. For years, canines have been used to detect a variety of different smells from drugs to mold. Why are dogs more effective at detecting bed bugs than humans? Many canines have over three hundred million receptors in their noses compared to about thirty million in human noses. This enables dogs to track down scents even through rain, mud, and snow.
In the past couple years, dogs have been trained to sniff out live bed bugs in residential and commercial buildings.
Why Use Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs
Why you shouldn’t be skeptical about using dogs to detect bed bugs: these dogs are specially trained and they are usually 97% accurate in finding live infestations. Humans are usually only 30% accurate in locating all the live bed bugs in a given pest problem.
When bed bugs come into your home, they go through seven stages of development. In most of the phases, bed bugs are no bigger than a sesame seed. Their eggs are an off-white to yellowish color, which makes it difficult to detect them on light colored bed sheets and carpets. When they become adults, they are about a quarter of an inch, and they are very good at hiding.
Because bed bugs camouflage so well, making it hard for humans to see them, companies like ours are relying on the incredible sense of smell that dogs have to find these blood-sucking insects.
Canines Can Find Bed Bugs in Minutes
Humans take longer to find bed bugs and often have to search entire rooms, and sometimes have to tear up furniture and floorboards to locate them, however, K9’s can sniff out bed bugs within minutes, without having to tear apart any furniture.
Who are The Dogs?
The dogs come from training facilities across the United States. Many of the dogs are rescued from shelters, which not only keeps procurement cost down but also gives these animals a new and exciting life to live.
How Are They Selected?
Dogs for this job are chosen based on their breed and level of energy.
Understanding the Best Breeds
Some of the best dogs for the job are hunting breeds including Bloodhounds and Beagles because for centuries they have been bred to hunt. Other breeds that can work are Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, Labradors, and Aussies.
We tend to use smaller breeds because they are less intimidating to residents who are afraid of dogs or who may have big dogs. Also, small dogs are easier to transport and lift when they need to sniff out taller areas in a room.
How Dogs Learn to Detect Live Bed Bugs
In order for the dogs to learn the scents of live and dead bed bugs, and also the different smells of the different stages the bed bugs go through, the dogs will smell each stage of the insect’s life. Within each test, the dog must be able to sniff and verify where the bed bugs are in their lifespan.
Training the dogs thoroughly so they aren’t sniffing out dead cells is a priority because those aren’t threatening to the owner or resident, only live ones are important to detect.