Bed bugs; Blood-sucking critters that can hide almost anywhere, only coming out at night to feed. Sounds almost like a cheesy vampire movie, right? Actually, bed bugs have been bothering humans for almost 3,500 years, although there has been a major decline in tiny attacks in recent years. Thanks to modern changes, such as insecticides, improved cleaning appliances and even home design, the bed bugs are finally starting to take the hint.

Bed bugs are pretty hard to detect, and the internet lists about 1,001 different ways to find them, but there has been an effective bed bug detector in our midst this entire time: Dogs. Man’s best friend is known for having a nose that can smell in parts per trillion, something no human can do. You’ve probably seen them roaming airports and border crossings, sniffing around for contraband peoples may be carrying in their luggage, but some are being trained for detecting more than just illegal activity. Bed bug detecting dogs are now considered the ideal way to find bed bugs in your home.

Properly trained dogs are able to detect adult bed bugs, as well as eggs, especially when there’s a treat on the line. They are also trained to be able to tell the difference between live and dead bed bugs, cast skins and feces, as these signs don’t necessarily point to an infestation. They are also able to differentiate between bed bugs and other things such as ants, cockroaches, termites and mold.

Since dogs need an environment where bed bugs are often found, handlers will use hotel rooms for training purposes. Don’t worry though; bed bugs are usually kept in a vented polyvinyl chloride container, which means the bugs are not getting out any time soon. Once the bug or a set of eggs are put into these containers and hid in places throughout the hotel room the handler and dog enter the room, completely unaware of where the containers have been hidden. After sniffing around the room for several minutes the dog will point out where the bed bugs are located. After a thorough search and visual confirmation of the bug’s location, the dog is reward for a job well done.

Human detection is a much slower, more time consuming, and comparatively inaccurate way of detecting bed bugs. While a human would have to move furniture and test every inch of a room in search of a bed bug infestation, a dog would take several minutes to sniff around the room and pinpoint exactly where the blood-sucking critters are hiding. If you don’t have that kind of patience or want quick results then mechanical or detection dogs are the way to go.

Detection dogs provide a reliable and speedy method for discovering whether or not you have bed bugs in the house. They are a lot more accurate than any human technician, and a lot faster; you just have to walk them through the house! Plus, they look pretty darn cute in their worker jackets.