Dogs have been used for their wide range of smelling abilities for decades. From drug to bomb detection, k-9 units are an essential tool in many law enforcement efforts. Some species of canines have been shown to contain over 300 million scent receptors in their nose (compared to humans 30 million). These scent receptors help them track scents in the rain, mud, and snow while distinguishing even the smallest differences.
K-9 Detection is on High Demand
Bed bug detection dogs have been specially trained to use their extreme sense of smell to detect the presence of bed bugs inside rooms and in hard to see places that human technicians find difficult to search. Some of these areas include inside furniture, under flooring and carpets, inside walls, under heavy furniture, behind large furniture, and more. These specially trained dogs boast a 97% accuracy, which highly out classes the human technicians 30% accuracy in initial inspections. Bed bugs are extremely small and at certain times in their life can be almost completely clear. This makes it very difficult for even the most highly trained and experienced human technician to detect.
Another benefit to using k-9s during bed bug inspections is due to their speed. While it can take 20 minutes to an hour for a human technician to do a through search of a room, a dog can accurately smell the presence of a live infestation within minutes. This is especially valuable for corporate clients that want to inspect multiple hotel rooms or apartment units in a single day. Some dogs can search up to 200 rooms in a single work day.
How The Dogs Are Selected
Some breeds of dogs have been historically chosen as detection dogs due to their hunting abilities. Breeds such as Blood Hounds and Beagles were some of the first to be chosen. Other breeds include Border Collies, Labradors, Aussies, and Shepherds. Dogs that are selected for the training courses are highly motivated, high energy and have a high desire to please. These dogs are checked for soundness and health before any training will begin. Dogs are subjected to rigorous training routines where they are taught the commands and signals to indicate the presence of bed bugs. Training often begins when the dog is 8-12 months and usually consists of about 800-1,000 hours of detailed training. Basic obedience and manners are also taught during this time. Only the highest quality dogs are trained and used in the field. In addition, the handlers for these k-9s are trained to read their dogs signals as well as give accurate commands to direct the dog. The k-9/hander team requires a strong bond and lots of continuous practice and training.
What Happens on the Job
When a team of trained dogs arrives at a location with their handlers the team starts with some drills and warm ups. The dog is introduced to the area and the handler makes sure they are focused for the job. The handler will lead the dog around the inspection areas and watch for the dog’s signals. Once the k-9 has found its target the dog will be treated and a visual inspection will be conducted by the technician. The K-9 team will use methodical search patterns and avoid missing any areas with bugs. Positive bed bug sighting will be followed up with a treatment plan to be finished later. K-9 units can also be used after a treatment application to ensure that all bed bugs have been killed. This post-heat inspection is recommended for anyone who wants to be 100% sure that the treatment that was applied was successful. Routine inspections are often conducted at hotel/motels with the hopes of spotting any potential problems BEFORE guests do.
If you are interested in having the AZEX k-9 detection team come to your home or business please contact AZEX at 877-445-2847. K-9 detection services are available for pre or post heat inspections for all bed bug treatments and encouraged as part of all corporate pro-active bed bug prevention plans.