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Bed Bug Detection Dogs

ZZ (centre) is a Brittany Spaniel, in training for bed bug detection, shown retrieving a toy reward, surrounded by brothers Frankie (left), and Jager (right)

Bed bug infestations are a growing concern in residences, hotels, offices, theatres, libraries, laundromats and public transportation (1), in many areas of the world (including Canada, USA, Australia and the UK). It is crucial to detect bed bugs early, before they spread. The longer an infestation is left untreated, the more widespread it becomes, increasing the difficulty and cost of extermination. Entomologist Richard Cooper comments: “During the early stages of an infestation, bugs tend to be located in very close association with beds and/or upholstered furniture. As populations increase in age and size, however, the likelihood of finding bed bugs in unpredictable areas away from host feeding sites increases”(2).

Bed bugs (aka Cimex lectularius) are difficult to detect, since they hide inside box springs and cracks in mattresses, and other crevasses, emerging at night to feed on the host’s blood.

K9 Bed bug detection is the most cost-effective method for rapidly and conveniently inspecting large areas. For example, bed bug detection dogs can regularly screen planes and hotel rooms, detecting any infestation before it spreads, minimizing both costs and negative customer experiences. They are also invaluable on airplanes and cruise ships, where they can rapidly search the entire area in a much shorter time than humans could visually inspect.

Bed bugs may feed every 2 weeks, and their eggs require 7-10 days to hatch. Therefore, it can be challenging to determine when bed bugs have been eliminated. The highly sensitive nose of a bed bug detection dog can find a single bedbug, making K9 bed bug detection canines a valuable component of pest control. Bed bug sniffer dogs must be able to detect live bed bugs and ignore any dead bugs, spotting (bed bug feces produced after digestion of blood) and any shed skins of nymphs, remaining after extermination is completed.

Hunter’s Heart introduces our bed bug detection candidates, Jager (Hunter’s Heart Jager Cimex) and ZZ (Hunter’s Heart She’s Got Legs) . These Brittany Spaniel puppies are from the BB x Boo breeding (DOB Sept. 22, 2017), a culmination of generations of happy, healthy scent detection dogs. Follow our blog to watch the puppies progress in their training (shown in Google Chrome on a PC in this screen capture).

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Looking for your next sniffer dog? Hunter’s Heart is currently taking reservations for BB x Boo’s final breeding in 2018. Learn more at: http://www.huntersheart.com/puppies.html

For detailed travel tips to prevent and limit bed bugs, and steps to take if you know you’ve been exposed, visit the Bedbugger.com forums (3).

RESOURCES

  1. Simon, C. Bed Bug Stowaways Crawl Over Seats and Disrupt Flights. 2018. https://nosework.huntersheart.com/2018/01/22/bed-bug-stowaways-crawl-over-seats-and-disrupt-flights/
  2. Mallis, A. Handbook of Pest Control Mallis: The Behavior, Life History, and Control of Household Pests (10th Ed), Chapter 8 (pages 586-633). Mallis Handbook Company, 2011.
  3. http://bedbugger.com/2007/08/05/faq-i-stayed-somewhere-that-had-bed-bugs-what-do-i-do-to-keep-from-taking-them-home/
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