Week three gave me the opportunity to sit in on my first educational conference with members of the pest management community. Many people are aware of the growing bed bug problem found in residential homes and hotels. Until this conference I was only familiar with the standard methods of detecting and controlling these pests: thorough cleaning of the infested areas with vacuuming, heating or freezing the area to kill the bed bugs, or fumigation. I was not aware, however, that pest management operations were working to find a way to detect these unpleasant insect pests before the problem becomes overwhelmingly severe.
This is where these highly trained animals come into play. Time has shown that residences with higher populations of people, hotels, dormitories, etc., are more likely to have bed bug-related issues. Typically, an infestation will be brought to the attention of a homeowner once sufficient discomfort exists as bites begin to emerge. Bed bug-seeking canines provide a heightened level of detection that stands to prevent bed bug populations from reaching a less manageable infestation level.
These highly trained canines, with their advanced sense of smell, are able to detect the presence of bed bugs in a home while populations are still minimal. Research has shown that they have over a 90% rate of detecting the presence of bed bugs in a home compared to the significantly lowered 50 to 60% for humans. Acknowledging that a population exists early allows for the application of management techniques before the bed bugs grow in number.