If you live in community living or a large apartment complex, your apartment manager or property manager may at some point notify you that a bed bug-sniffing dog will be coming through. A notable issue with bed bugs in the building has to be the motivating factor, which for any tenant is quite an uncomfortable thought. However, the idea that a dog could sniff out something as tiny as a sesame seed, much less a colony of these bugs, seems really far-fetched despite a dog's ability to smell hundreds of times better than humans. Dogs as bed bug exterminators? Here is how that works.
Beagles and Bloodhounds Preferred
Because bed bugs take a blood meal from their host (you!) they tend to have an odor of death and decay about them. While people cannot smell that, beagles and bloodhounds can. Some other breeds of dogs can also smell that as well. These breeds of dogs are exactly the types that pest control and extermination companies spend thousands of dollars on to train, and then use these dogs to find bed bug infestations.
How the Dogs Are Trained
The dogs are sent to training facilities in different parts of the country, It can take up to two years before the dogs are ready to become certified pest-sniffers. The dogs are exposed to live insects, larvae, and eggs, as well as molting shells and egg shells, so that they can learn to tell the difference between live pests and their shed parts. The dogs are rewarded for successfully recognizing live adult bed bugs and live nymphs via the use of treats and praise.
Pest Control Dog Handlers Get Training Too
Along with training the dogs to sniff out bed bugs, the pest control companies have to train and certify the dog handlers. Part of the training the dogs receive involves the pest control handler that will be working consistently with a specific dog. This way, the dog and handler bond, become familiar with each other's signals and responses and can more effectively spot infestations.
The Cost for a Dog "Exterminator"
As a landlord or property manager of a multi-unit building, you may pay close to a couple grand to hire a bed bug-sniffing dog. However, if the dog roots out the areas of your building that are infested, it easily saves you that much money in fumigations for the whole building, since you only have to fumigate and/or treat the areas that have the pests. Additionally, many people enjoy seeing a pooch wander through the halls, so it is almost like pet therapy for your tenants.
For more information or assistance, contact companies like Tri-County Termite & Pest Control, Inc.