Gizmo: American Pest's Bed Bug Dog


Bed bugs    K-9s   

Gizmo is a two year old jack beagle mix. He is a rescue dog who enjoys playing with other dogs and is great with people of all ages. He’s just like any other dog except he holds down a full time job as a bed bug detector and is helping American Pest combat the ever growing bed bug problem in the D.C. area.


A graduate of the Florida Canine Academy Gizmo underwent several hundred hours of training that consisted of basic obedience, odor identification, search patterns, scent discrimination, various types of building search areas, socialization and vehicle rides. Upon mastering his solo training Gizmo was then joined by his handler John Bauerle and together they learned how to work as a team. Bed bug dog training is an ongoing process and includes daily and weekly training. It is not uncommon to see Gizmo and John wandering around American Pest’s headquarters on the hunt for live bed bugs as they perform blind hides training. Before Gizmo enters the building small vials of bed bugs will be hidden throughout the office and then at John’s command he’ll begin his inspection. Upon finding bed bug activity Gizmo will calmly sit to alert John to the presence of these nighttime pests and will bow his head in the direction of the infestation when prompted by John to “show me”. Chasing down bed bugs at the office, around John’s home and practicing his skills on the training wheel ensures that Gizmo will be ready for the next bed bug inspection whether in a single family dwelling or on a college campus.

So why use bed bug dogs? At American Pest we rely on Gizmo and his bed bug sniffing nose because he has proven effectiveness rate of 98% and can perform inspections quickly. He also has the ability to detect bed bugs that are congregating in areas that are not visible to the naked eye. A pest control professional, who is thoroughly trained on bed bugs, has an effectiveness rate of 30-40% and may take over an hour to cover the same amount of ground that Gizmo can in ten minutes. Only able to inspect areas that are accessible also leaves room for bed bug activity to go undetected.

Dogs have proven they are capable of detecting bombs, drugs and people and have been used for many years by law enforcement and military agencies. So why not use their nose for bed bug detection? Here are some interesting facts from the Florida Canine Academy:

  • From a single drop of urine, the sniffing dog learns the marking animal’s sex, diet, health, emotional state, and even whether it’s dominant or submissive, friend or foe.

  • Tracking dogs follow a biochemical trail of dead skin cells, sweat, odor molecules, and gasses.

  • For dogs, a scent article is like a three-dimensional “odor image” - much more detailed than a photograph is for a person.

  • Dogs can track a scent through snow, air, mud, water, and even ash.

  • The properly trained and certified detection dog is recognized in court as a "scientific instrument" (US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals)

A bed bug inspection performed by Gizmo is ideal for residential dwellings, apartment buildings as well as many types of commercial facilities including hospitals and other medical facilities, hotels and motels and office buildings and in fact is the most effective way to determine if a problem exists as well as how severe it may be. If you are worried about bed bug activity in D.C., Maryland or Virginia and would like to learn more about Gizmo, please contact us.


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