Bed bug-sniffing dogs are the latest weapon in the bed bug-fighting arsenal. But how do you know whether “Killer” really knows his stuff? If you’re considering hiring a “bed bug dog,” exercise a little caution and common sense.
The average dog has 200 to 250 million scent receptors in its nose; a man has only 5 million. A dog’s nasal membranes cover about 7 square meters, compared to a human’s puny half meter. A dog’s scenting ability is so sensitive it can smell things that can’t be detected by the most sensitive scientific instruments. Its sensitivity to odors is 10 to 100 times greater than man’s, depending on the dog and its training.
And that’s the key. Any dog can be billed as a bed bug hunter and how would we nose-challenged humans know the difference? The National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association has begun certifying bed bug dogs. Before you hire, ask:
- Is the dog certified?
- Can it differentiate between living and dead bugs?
- Can it sniff out eggs?
- How are the dog’s findings validated?
Remember, finding bed bugs is just the first step. Exterminating them is what’s important.