Canine Bed Bug Inspections

ZZ (centre) is a Brittany Spaniel, in training for bed bug detection, shown playing with her reward while surrounded by brothers.

Bed bug infestations are a growing concern in residences, hotels, offices, theatres, libraries, laundromats and public transportation (1), in many areas around the world (including Canada, USA, Australia and the UK). 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. 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.

Think bed bugs aren’t a significant problem in Canada? Think again. One disturbing case in a seniors’ retirement residence was shown by CBC News (7, 8). It stands to reason that many other troubling infestations don’t appear in the news.

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).

Canine bed bug detection is the most cost-effective method for rapidly and conveniently inspecting large areas. Research has shown bed bug detection dogs are approximately 95% reliable. 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.

Think your property may have bed bugs? Looking for a canine inspection to verify or rule out bed bugs? Email Carla at webmaster@huntersheart.com to schedule an inspection by Hunter’s Heart sniffer dogs (Calgary). Hunter’s Heart offers 3 types of bed bug inspections:

1. DIAGNOSTIC Inspections

Diagnostic bed bug inspections help answer the question “Do I have bed bugs?” Bed bug inspections are recommended when:

  • You, a family member or friend has been exposed to bed bugs, such as bites
  • You recently acquired a used mattress or sofa, or
  • You recently returned for a vacation or hotel stay.

Knowing if you have bed bugs or not will help you to make good decisions about what to do next.

2. POST TREATMENT Inspections

Post treatment inspections help answer the question “Did treatment (e.g. fumigation or heat treatment) successfully remove the bugs?” If treatment missed a live bug or egg, they can multiply into a new infestation. Post-treatment bed bug inspections should occur 2-3 weeks after treatment, so products have time to do their job.

3. PREVENTATIVE Inspections

Preventative inspections can find a few bed bugs at the earliest stages, before they multiply into a massive infestation that is more expensive and challenging to treat.

After our sniffer dog alerts on any areas of concern, we may search with a second sniffer dog to verify the findings. We always follow up with a detailed, visual inspection to show you the bugs. We’ll show you all the evidence we uncover, including live bugs, shed skins, eggs and/or fecal spotting. You can take photos and decide if you want to share this evidence with your pest control technician, your landlord, or nobody at all. Alternately, we can safely dispose of it for you.

INSTRUCTIONS – Preparing for Your Inspection

Once you’ve booked a canine bed bug inspection, here are the instructions on how to prepare:

how_to_prepare_for_your_bed_bug_inspection_hunters_heart_oct282019

RESOURCES

For detailed travel tips to prevent and limit bed bugs, and steps to take if you know you’ve been exposed, visit the free Bedbugger.com forums, where you can ask Experts questions about your unique situation (3).

  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/
  4. Video demonstrating how to inspect your home for bed bugs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORR7yAT-Vic, by University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources’ Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program
  5. Doggett, S.L., D. M. Miller, Lee, C. Advances in the Biology and Management of Modern Bed Bugs. (2018). Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
  6. Life sized, accurate photos of bed bugs can help you learn what to look for: https://www.bedbugsupply.com/bed-bug-pictures.html.
  7. http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1633906243912/
  8. Seniors’ home confines 94-year-old blind woman to bedbug-infested room for 2 weeks. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/woman-confined-bedbugs-sienna-senior-living-1.5342990?fbclid=IwAR1em27W0C6qen24OPP2pIy-6GCANkGDknpBFxzV_IomNIN1-H8O9AhY9hY

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