Can Dogs Be Trained To Sniff Out Bed Bugs?

training dogs to sniff out bed bugs

During the ’60s, bedbugs have become a widespread problem but these bugs seemed to dwindle down after a few years. Unfortunately, recent reports have confirmed that these bugs are making a comeback and are becoming a serious issue once again.

Bedbug sightings have been reported everywhere- from five star hotels, inns, shopping malls, to family homes. With the increasing number of cases reported, new methods of bedbug detection and elimination are being developed. For one, the resurgence of bed bugs has led to the use of canines to detect these pesky parasitic creatures. Since a dog’s sense of smell is so accurate, it can successfully locate bed bug infested areas with its nose.

Tips For Spotting A Bedbug

Before you use your dog to sniff out bedbugs at home, you must first educate yourself as to what bedbugs look like. It is advisable to consult with a pest control professional to look into your bedbug problem at home. You can also checkout online sources that provide information about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of bedbugs. For instance, you can look for signs of infestation, such as:

  • Bedbug Bites: This is the first sign of infestation. If you or a family member starts finding unexplained bites that usually looks like welts on your arms, legs, neck, or face, you may have a bloodsucker living in your bed.
  • Mattress Stains: The stains are usually a mixture of black fecal matter and blood. The fecal matter has a reddish brown coloring and it is the waste from the bugs’ last blood meal. Look for stains on your bedding, box springs, and mattress seams. You should also look into your baseboards, bed frame, and lamp stand.
  • Cast Skins: Before the nymphs turn into adult bedbugs, they go through metamorphosis. During this stage, they molt and leave their dead skin behind. You can find cast skins along seams, cracks, or crevices.
  • Live Bedbugs: If you find what looks like a bedbug, you must use gloves to pick it up and store it in a sealed plastic bag.

How To Train Your Dog To Detect Bed bugs

We all know that dogs can be trained to sniff out drugs and explosive, but can they be trained to sniff out pesky parasitic creatures? If you can train your dog to detect bed bugs, he will be able to tell you where the bedbugs are and can keep you from treating the entire house. Remember that if the dog is properly trained, he can detect the location of the bugs accurately.

  1. You should look for bedbugs and place them in three of the five salt shakers. In one of the empty salt shaker, you should place eggs, fecal matter, and cast skins. Leave one of the salt shakers empty.
  2. Let your canine smell the shakers that contain live bed bugs. In doing so, he won’t confuse the scents.
  3. Bring your dog out of the room then close all the doors. In doing so, he won’t know what you are doing inside. Hide all the salt shakers in various areas of the room.
  4. Once you’re done, let your canine into the room again. Issue a command, such as “search”, or “fetch”. Use this command phase every time you want your pooch to locate bed bugs.
  5. Remember to reward your dog with a healthy treat and positive reinforcement when he successfully locates the salt shakers containing live bugs.
  6. If he finds the wrong salt shaker, such as the one containing the dead matter, simply ignore your pooch. This may sound disheartening but it will help train your canine to sniff out only live bed bugs.
  7. Repeat the exercise and be patient. It may take a lot of practice before your dog is able to perform what you want him to do.

Although your dog can detect bedbugs, you still need to learn how to effectively eradiate these pesky creatures. You can call and arrange to have a professional exterminator address your bed bug problem.

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Kris Lim has worked with a dog trainer, and found out the different ways to train a canine. In this article, she listed a few basic tips to train a dog to sniff out bedbugs; however, she still suggests consulting with a pest control professional to learn more about bedbug detection and elimination.