Dogs just keep proving themselves as man's best friends. They protect homes, provide comfort, and constantly promise unconditional love. They are used as companions to the blind and as comfort to wounded soldiers. Dogs also are invaluable back-up assistance for police officers, running down bad guys and holding them until they can be cuffed and hauled away. Is it any surprise to hear that dogs are increasingly being used to aid pest control technicians? Bed bug detection dogs are becoming a popular option for sniffing out these sneaky insects. If you are battling bed bugs, you may want to consider using a pest control company that offers canine detection.
How dogs sniff out bugs
Bed bug detection dogs (usually hunting breeds such as terriers, beagles, and retrievers) start their training at about eight to twelve months of age. The training process has three steps.
Matched with handlers who are their primary human contact, detection dogs first learn basic obedience. This time spent in obedience training gives dogs and trainers the opportunity to bond together successfully.
Dogs then learn how to sniff out live bugs and viable eggs in many different containers. They learn, through reward and praise, how to alert only to those items, disregarding dead insects and exoskeletons.
The dogs are then exposed to many different scenarios and locations, such as mock hotel rooms. Training canisters that hold live bugs, eggs, or dead shell casings are hidden throughout the mock inspection site. These "dry runs" prepare them for real inspections.
By the time training is complete, dogs can find evidence of active infestations far more quickly than their human counterparts, promptly alerting technicians to specific areas that need treatment. This saves you time and money when you need to know where bugs are burrowed in your home. Even skilled pest control technicians can miss infestation sites or mistake old burrows as current bed bug hideouts.
Proper training is imperative
Because this is a relatively new business area, established within the past ten years, uniformity of practice is still being settled. In fact, it was as recently as 2011 that the National Pest Management Association outlined standards for the training of detection dogs. Several accredited programs now exist around the country, which offer 800-1000 hours of training for certification as detection dogs.
Whenthe dogs' training is complete, they undergo certification testing through the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association. Other organizations certifying dogs for this line of work include the North America Detector Dog Association and the International Association of Canine Pest Inspectors.
How effective is canine bed bug detection?
Again, because this is a relatively new area in the pest control field, there is a lack of definitive data proving or disproving the dogs' effectiveness. While handlers acknowledge their dogs can sometimes alert falsely or miss true infestations, the overall anecdotal reports are positive. The training and certification processes are ensuring more accurate results from the dogs' work than when these services were first offered. It is assumed that as this area of pest detection improves, there will be fewer false alerts and missed positives.
If you have been battling bed bugs on your own only to find them reappear after treatment, you may be missing some of the locations where the insects have hidden out in your home. Call a pest control company in your area that uses certified detection dogs. It's possible they just might be able to show you the areas you've been missing. The technician will also advise you about the professional services offered by the company that may help you eradicate those sneaky bugs once and for all.