1. Can dogs tell the difference between live bed bugs and dead bed bugs?
Short answer is yes – Our dogs are trained to distinguish the difference between the scent of live bugs and the scent of viable bed bug eggs versus dead bugs, cast skins and bedbug fecal matter.
2. How do bed bugs travel?
Bed bugs do not jump or fly, bed bugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually transported in or on luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, and other items. Bed bugs are small, cryptic and agile, escaping detection after crawling into suitcases, boxes and belongings. The eggs are especially tiny and are usually overlooked. Acquiring secondhand beds, couches and furniture is another way that the bugs are transported into previously non-infested dwellings. Bed bugs also can be carried in on a person’s clothing or shoes, resulting in an infestation.
3. What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are oval, flattened, brown, and wingless insects approximately 1/4″ to 3/8″ long. They are similar in appearance to a wood tick. Prior to feeding an adult bed bug is about the size of an apple seed. After the bug feeds on a blood meal, its color will change from brown to purplish-red. Also after feeding, it is larger and more cigar-shaped making it appear like a different insect. Young bed bugs are much smaller (1/16” or 1.6 mm when they first hatch) and nearly colorless except after feeding, but resemble the adult in general shape. You may also find cast skins, which are empty shells of bugs as they grow from one stage to the next. After a blood meal, bed bugs deposit fecal spots (composed of digested blood) in areas adjacent to the feeding site or back at their hiding places, their fecal matter will not rub off of the surface where the bed bug defecated.
4. What is the accuracy of the dogs?
University of Florida, study, has shown that dogs can be trained to accurately locate live bed bugs and viable bed bug eggs at a positive indication rate of 90%. Dogs can differentiate the live bed bugs from other general household pests, such as German cockroaches, eastern subterranean termites, and Florida carpenter ants. The dogs also can discriminate live bed bugs and viable bed bug eggs from other bed bug materials, such as cast skins, feces, and dead bed bug.
5. How are the dogs trained?
Our dogs were trained for a period of four months by professional dog trainers, to become proficient in detecting the scent of live bed bugs and the scent of viable bed bug eggs prior to Mike and I picking them up. Once the trainer determines the dogs are prepared for the field our dog handler and the dog need to pass the NESDECA http://www.nesdca.com certification program.
6. How long has AMERICAN K9 been in business?
American K9 had the first NESDECA bed bug certified dogs in MA, NH and RI. American K9 is going into its fourth year of business in the proactive battle against bed bugs.