K-9s Take the Bite out of Bed Bugs
General Pest Control
People say that bed bugs are akin to a nightmare that you can't wake up from, but the pest management industry is clocking countless hours every day to put these pests to bed for good.
The key to preventing these nocturnal bloodsuckers from taking over your home is early detection, which is why the industry has turned to using canines to conduct bed bug inspections.
Dogs (or K9s) have traditionally been used to detect bombs, drugs, and even search and rescue missions for missing persons. Now, their incredible sense of smell and relentless work ethic are rapidly becoming the leading tool in the detection of bed bugs.
This partnership between K-9s and pest management has only evolved in the past few years, thus, many pest management companies nationwide are still learning about how to do it, and standards are still being developed and debated. If you are looking to have a bed bug dog inspect your home, American Pest recommends you ask these questions of the company you are looking to hire:
Q: What breed is the K-9?
This seemingly innocent question actually carries a lot of weight. A K-9’s breed will have significant effects on the dog’s stamina and work ethic. Large breeds (e.g. Retrievers, Labradors) are bred specifically for scent detection purposes and are capable of covering a lot of ground without tiring quickly. A company should ideally employ only purebred K-9s on their team and be able to explain why that breed was selected.
Q: How is the K-9 trained to find bed bugs?
A K-9’s motivation for inspecting can have a tremendous impact on their quality of work. K-9s that are rewarded with food enjoy a good meal when they find bed bugs, but once they are full, their interest in working is diminished. K-9s that are rewarded with a toy when they locate bed bugs understand their work as a game, and “play” through the entire inspection.
Q: What exactly is the K-9 trained to find?
These easily overlooked questions could mean the difference between you having to pay for bed bug treatments you don’t need-or not signing up for treatments that you do need. Your company’s K-9 should be trained to alert (signal to the handler where the bed bugs are located) all stages of bed bug life, including eggs.
Q. What are the K-9 Handler’s credentials?
Most people love dogs, and most people think they could work with dogs professionally after sitting through a pet obedience class. But handling a K9, especially for scent detection jobs, is a tough occupation that requires substantial education and training. You should also ask what kind of training the Handler has had on insect identification and behavior. If the company has on-staff entomologists, (those who study insects) the Handler should have received on-site training. The ideal K-9 Handler for your bed bug inspection team would have at least 5 years of experience in handling scent detection, obedience, or service dogs.
American Pest hopes these tips are able to help you find the right K-9 to conduct your bed bug inspection, and wishes you the best in resolving bed bug issues!
Since 1925, American Pest has been solving pest problems in the metropolitan Washington, DC area, and takes pride in continuing its longstanding tradition of providing effective, eco-friendly pest control solutions for DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia including Alexandria and McLean. For more information, please contact us by phone at 1-877-282-1886, or fill out our contact form.
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