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Although bed bugs have been a serious problem in the United States and elsewhere for more than two decades, pest control researchers are still trying to develop an ideal form of bed bug detection. Pest controllers generally rely on locating discarded bed bug skins and bed bug fecal spots in order to determine if a home is infested. However, it is becoming increasingly common for pest controllers around the world to rely on dogs to sniff out bed bugs within homes and buildings. Dogs are particularly useful for detecting bed bugs in several rooms when time is limited. The use of dogs to locate bed bugs has been subject to academic research, and while much of this research finds that dogs can greatly assist pest controllers, relying on dogs alone to sniff out bed bugs has shown varying degrees of success.

Studies investigating the efficacy of bed bug-sniffing dogs suggest that dogs should be used as a tool for detecting bed bugs, but dogs should not be relied upon solely to detect all bed bug hotspots within a home or building. If a dog positively identified a bed bug, then a pest control professional should always be on hand to confirm the dog’s find with a visual inspection. The type and extent of a bed bug treatment should depend on a pest controller’s visual inspection, and never just the dog’s findings alone. Of course, bed bug-sniffing dogs do not emerge naturally; instead, dogs need to be trained to sniff out bed bugs in structures, and it is very important that trainers know the strengths and weaknesses of the dogs that they are training.

In addition to bed bug sniffing dogs, many electronic devices are being made to locate bed bugs by identifying the compounds that they emit. These devices are basically like electronic sniffers, and while these devices have not measures up to real bed bug sniffing dogs, these devices are being made more effective regularly. Soon these electronic devices may provide a cheaper and more effective solution than bed bug sniffing dogs.

Have you ever witnessed dogs being used to locate bed bugs?