Can your pet detect insects? Detection Dogs.
I bet this caught your attention, right? I know it caught mine. We all know that dogs can be taught to find drugs, bombs, seizures, and a plethora of other ailments and items, but did you know that living creatures can be detected too? More specifically dogs can be trained to search and find traces of bed bugs AND termites. Incredible, right? Who knew animals could be part of the pest control team.
Let me give you a little information about sniffer dogs first. Sniffer dogs are usually handpicked by trainers based on many factors including temperament and attention. Sniffer, or detection, dogs are chosen at a young age and go through training every day to hone their skills. After they have passed numerous tests they can be released to a workforce and begin another 2-3-month course. After they successfully finish their last training course they are then able to start working.
Each dog is trained to search out a specific scent and either sit, scratch, or other motion to indicate that they’ve found something. Other animals such as service dogs go through similar training to detect, notify, or even comfort their companion.
What about the insects?
Now that you have some information on how dogs are trained for the workforce; it’s easier to see how dogs can be trained to sniff out bugs. For Bed bugs, dogs are trained to search for a musky odor that these pests produce. Bed Bug detection dogs can find live bugs hiding in your home anywhere from your bedding to your couch. For termites, dogs are taught to sniff for methane gas which is a bi-product of termites. This gas is caused by fermentation in the gut of the insect when it digests food; this gas is also produced by cattle.
Fun Fact: Methane is known as a greenhouse gas because it is absorbed into the atmosphere and traps heat, warming the Earth’s surface.
Do sniffer dogs produce results?
The use of sniffer dogs in the exterminator industry is relatively new, and not many pest control businesses use them. In fact, very little companies even know about them. As for their accuracy; it’s on the better side than you would think. There is about 90% accuracy with a properly trained bed bug or termite sniffing dog, but training is key. They must also be accompanied by a trained technician to be able to double check and make sure the animal is telling the truth. In some cases, these dogs have been shown to falsify a detection just to get a reward. Whoa. Don’t knock off these trained canines just because of a few tricky pooches. A lot of insect sniffing dogs are correct and can save you money before your house gets infested further.
If you are looking for a pest control company, with or without sniffer dogs, it’s best to just ask around or do some research. Most of the time a referral is going to be your best option because you know they do a great job. And who knows? You may get lucky enough to find yourself a company with one of these amazing pooches. Just remember to ask around first and ask the company to show proof.