Using Dogs in the Fight Against Bed Bugs


Bed bugs    K-9s   

“Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” Parents and grandparents have delivered this adage to children right before bedtime since the 1800s. The thought of tiny bugs creeping out from their hiding places to bite us in the night is enough to make anyone paranoid, not just children. The threat of bed bugs is real and prevalent throughout Maryland, Virginia, and DC—and is no laughing matter.

Behind Bed Bugs

These bloodsucking pests have been around since they hitched a ride on the Mayflower searching for new beds to bug. Their small, thin bodies (about 4-5 mm long, 1-3 mm wide) allow them to hide between the seams of mattresses, behind the headboard, and in other dark crevices. Attracted by heat, carbon dioxide, and movement, bed bugs tend to venture out at night to feed on human blood. Their eggs and larvae can be planted inside mattress seams or between where the wood frames intersect. Treatment for these insects includes severe heat or cold as well as manual approaches such as vacuuming or sealing mattresses in bed bug-proof encasements. Such treatments require the skill and expertise on the part of a pest management professional, leaving no room for error and missed bugs. But a growing four-legged strategy has emerged in hunting these six-legged pests—canines.

K-9 Company

The usage of dogs to detect bed bugs in hotels, apartments, and residences is a practice becoming more common with leading pest control companies. These K-9 scent detection dogs are specialized in detecting adult bed bugs, as well as bed bug nymphs and eggs. A dog nose has between 125 and 220 million smell-sensitive receptors (about 1 million times more sensitive than humans) allowing it to sense all kinds of aromas.

Advantages to K-9 Inspections

K-9 unit detection, such as the one offered by American Pest, has many advantages over using traditional inspections:

  • Accuracy rates above 90 percent in detecting bed bug eggs, nymphs, and adults.
  • Inspection time of 2-15 minutes instead of 20 minutes to 1 hour. The customer gets more coverage in a smaller time frame.
  • Minimal to no disruption to occupant: no dismantling of bed, moving furniture, etc.
  • Detection is not limited to only areas of visibility. Dogs can detect bugs
    • In cluttered areas
    • Inside upholstered surfaces
    • In mattress seams
    • Beneath carpets
    • Behind baseboards

For a single family home, a K-9 inspection from American Pest can run between $150-$250, depending on the area covered.  The dog can sweep bedrooms and living areas efficiently, clearing such areas as bed bug free or not. Human bed bug inspections—although only $99—cannot be conducted with the same efficiency or thoroughness as a dog because they must cover uncertain areas during inspection and treatment.

Contact Us

When it comes to your home or business’ safety and sanitation, bed bug detection and elimination is no joke. Contact American Pest today for a K-9 inspection and ensure that the only thing you sleep with is peace of mind.


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