Canine Bed Bug Detection: Current Technologies and Future Directions
Bed bug detection and control has become an increasingly important part of the pest control industry in the past ten years. It’s no surprise given that estimates suggest a 100-fold increase in its population worldwide.
Early detection is basic in limiting the spread of these pests. Detection based on bites is ineffective, since responses to insect bites are often misdiagnosed. Visual inspections for signs of the pests is time consuming and, although inexpensive, often falls short at the outset of an infestation when there are comparatively few bugs present.
Could the answer to early detection include man’s best friend, the dog? Use of canine (K9) inspection dogs is gaining in popularity and the future of this method looks very bright. Trained dogs are both extremely accurate and quick at detecting pests.
How does canine (K9) bed bug inspection work?
Dogs naturally have amazingly sensitive noses which permit them to detect these vermin! In fact, specially trained canines detect pests with amazing accuracy. Not only can they recognize the scent of live bugs and their eggs, they can also tell the difference between live and dead bugs and also between the bugs and the debris they leave behind.
Studies have demonstrated that trained dogs may be more accurate than a trained technician at detecting vermin. K9 Inspection dogs receive a meaningful amount of training before and after being paired with a handler. Given this training, a can inspect a room in minutes where a human inspector might take hours, saving time and money.
They can tell which rooms have problems and which ones do not. This ensures treatments are conducted only in the necessary areas that are detected, before these become large infestations.
Several new technologies to detect infestations are being worked on, but none as promising as canine detection.
One new method tests air samples from a room to detect these pests. Using gas chromatography, it can clarify airborne chemicals associated with such infestations. Electronic noses are another promising technology. This new tech applies instruments to detect volatile odor compounds at comparatively low concentrations – and is already being used in the food and environmental monitoring industries.
The challenge of early detection of bed bugs could someday be solved by new technology, but for now these new high-tech approaches are nevertheless impractical for extensive use by both pest control operators and homeowners.
Canine (K9) inspection, however is becoming increasingly popular. Based on the speed and accuracy of these trained dogs, it may be the ideal way to detect bed bugs early.