A study recently published in the Journal of Economic Entomology looked at how accurate bed bug detection dogs are. According to the study, dogs detected 98% of infestations with only a few false positives. This is an incredibly high detection rate compared to other methods, and most handlers believe the dogs have a high success rate. However, the study also found that detection rates varied greatly among the 11 teams and different days. It is important to note that many false positives were caused by misinterpreting the dogs’ signals.
Bed bugs produce pheromones, which dogs can detect at all stages of their life cycle. These scents are given off by all animals, including humans, and dogs are no exception. This allows trained dogs to associate the scent of live bed bugs with the presence of these bugs. However, trained professionals must first find signs of bed bugs in the home before they can use a bed bug detection dog to find them. Often, they must spend hours searching for signs of the insects.
In addition to using their exceptional sense of smell, bed bug detection dogs can distinguish between the scent of a mature bed bug and the scent of an eggshell. They can also detect an infestation in places that humans cannot reach. They can even mark box springs and electrical outlets to help the handlers pinpoint the source of the infestation.