Man's Best Friend has Become a Bed Bug's Worst Enemy

HuffingtonPost.com
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Since the pesky little critters known as bedbugs are infesting homes, offices, and hotels from New York to California, detection has become more and more difficult. However, there are alternative solutions to bedbug detection, including using man's best friend.

Anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of bedbugs understands the stress associated with waking up with mysterious bites. One type of detection technique that more and more pest control professionals are offering is scent detection by canines. Relying on a canine's expert sense of smell has proven to be the most expedient and accurate way of pinpointing where bedbugs are living.

"There is no questioning a dog's capability to smell and detect odors that are very minimal. A dog possesses 250 million scent receptors compared to a human, who has only 5 million. A properly-trained dog and handler has proved to be well over 90 percent proficient," says Matt Skogen, leading scent detection expert at IronHeart High Performance Working Dogs.

Let's take a look at the bedbug detection process. If you think you have bedbugs, the first step is to contact a pest control professional. It is vital for pest control professionals to know the type of insect they are treating before they outline a course of action. Once it is determined you have bedbugs, consider asking your pest control professional about using a bedbug canine to be sure all bedbug infestations in your home or office are properly detected.

Then follow these tips for a successful bedbug canine inspection:

1. Make sure you have not used any over-the-counter pesticides in your home prior to the inspection.

2. Try not to cook for up to two hours prior to the canine inspection.

3. If possible, make arrangements for any pets you have to be out of your home while a canine is doing its job.

3. Pick up any pet food or toys so that the canine can focus on his or her work.

4. Leave your sheets, pillows, and blankets on your bed. There is no need to clean prior to an inspection.

5. Be aware that a well-trained canine inspection is accurate up to 95 percent of the time, and ask if the company supplies a guarantee.

6. All canine inspections should include a technician inspection as well.

The two most common types of canines used in bedbug detection are beagles and Jack Russell terriers. When compared to a human's sense of smell, there is no comparison.

"Technology has a long way to go before there is anything as accurate as a dog's nose. Experts have tried handheld electronic devices that have proven to be completely useless. A dog has the benefit of portability and migrating to the source of an odor, where a handheld device does not," says Skogen.

Once your home is cleared by a bedbug canine inspector, invest in an over-the-counter bedbug spray to minimize your risk of an infestation. I recommend Pronto Plus, a bedbug spray that effectively kills bedbugs and their eggs on contact. This spray can be used in your automobile, office, or home. Remember to always follow the instructions on the label.

While bedbugs seem to be here for the foreseeable future, rest assured that man's best friend is here to help! And as always, remember the key to staying bedbug free is to stay educated.