We’ve all heard of and seen the drug-sniffing dogs in the airport, but did you know that dogs are also utilized to sniff out bed bugs? This kind of pest inspection is becoming more prevalent with more NYC homeowners electing to hire companies that offer this service. Professional bed bug inspectors have trained eyes to notice bed bug droppings, casings, or other small evidence of these critters—but because bed bugs are so small, they are not always visible. Professional bed bug sniffing dogs are trained to do what a human can’t.
Sense of Smell
Bed bugs may emit an odor that has been described as something similar to a wet or molding towel. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and can detect odors nearly 10,000 times better than humans. It makes sense because their ancestors and relatives, wolves, have historically used their sense of smell to find food from miles away. With this particular skill and the right training, dogs are much more likely to detect bed bugs without an error.
Dogs vs. Humans
A human would look where bed bugs or signs of bed bugs have already been spotted but with this incredible sense of smell, bed bug sniffing dogs may find bed bugs in another room or area of the home that even the homeowner didn’t see. Did you know that bed bugs are sometimes found in the kitchen? The name “bed bug” misleads people into thinking that the only thing they’re interested in are the beds in a home, but they can be found all over the house. These pests conceal themselves in the depths of furniture, in upholstery, behind wallpaper and baseboards, inside walls, and behind outlets, light switches, and more. Their ability to hide can make detecting them quite a challenge.
Bed bug sniffing dogs are fast and efficient. They are trained to detect the bed bugs so that is what they focus on as soon as they enter the home. If the infestation is small and not particularly prevalent, a human may overlook something of significance because we don’t have the sharp sense of smell that these animals do have. When a bed bug infestation has reached a larger stage, the smell may be more obvious to humans.
Training of Bed Bug Dogs
Just like training a dog to sit or speak, once the bed bug sniffing dog has been trained, it becomes second nature to them. This is a great benefit for the process because it’s something that they do naturally and they don’t have to be retrained every time. The dogs are even trained to know the difference between live bugs and dead cells. This is due to the fact that a “false positive” could lead to unnecessary treatments and therefore unnecessary expenses. Dogs’ sense of smell has been utilized by humans for many years in the most tense of situations like bomb-sniffing dogs. They are so trusted to be accurate that we place them in these situations because we know they are better at it than a human could ever be.
Time Saving Bed Bug Inspections
An additional benefit of bed bug sniffing dogs is that it makes the process much faster. A visual inspection that a human would do can take hours depending on the size of the New York home. Because these dogs have been specifically trained and have these amazing skills, they can identify the problem in a fraction of the time.