Canine bed bug detection: current technologies and future directions

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 over the past ten years. Not surprising given that estimates show a 100-fold increase in its population worldwide.

Early detection is essential to limit the spread of these pests. Bite-based detection is ineffective because reactions to insect bites are often misdiagnosed. Visual inspections for signs of pests are time-consuming and, although inexpensive, often fail early in an infestation when relatively few insects are present.

Could the answer to early detection involve man’s best friend, the dog? The use of canine (K9) inspection dogs is gaining popularity and the future of this method looks very bright. Trained dogs are extremely accurate and fast in detecting pests.

How does canine (K9) bed bug inspection work?

Dogs naturally have amazingly sensitive noses that allow them to detect these parasites! In fact, specially trained dogs detect pests with astonishing accuracy. Not only can they detect the smell of live bugs and their eggs, but they can also tell the difference between live and dead bugs, and between the bugs and the debris they leave behind.


Studies show that trained dogs can be more accurate than a trained technician at detecting pests. K9 inspection dogs receive a significant amount of training before and after being paired with a handler. Given this training, a person 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 don’t. This ensures that treatments are carried out only in the necessary areas, which are detected before they become large infestations.

Future directions

Several new technologies are being worked on to detect infestations, but none are as promising as detection in dogs.

A new method tests air samples from a room to detect these pests. Using gas chromatography, he can identify chemicals in the air associated with such infestations. Electronic noses are another promising technology. This new technology applies tools to detect volatile odorous compounds at relatively low concentrations – and is already being used in the food and environmental monitoring industries.


The challenge of early bed bug detection may someday be solved by new technology, but for now these new high-tech approaches are still impractical for widespread use by pest control operators and homeowners alike.

Canine examination (K9) on the other hand is becoming more and more popular. Based on the speed and accuracy of these trained dogs, this may be the perfect way to detect bed bugs early.

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