Don’t hire the wrong bed bug dog!
That’s right, they’re not fake dogs, but THEY ARE not professionally trained bed bug sniffing dogs. Here’s an example:
A Tail of Two Dogs (sorry, had to)
The “real” bed bug sniffing dog is trained for weeks at an established dog training facility with a proven track record of success. Example: Falco K9 Academy in California with 30 years of experience. The dog and trainer must pass a rigorous test before they certify their dogs.
Not a “real” bed bug sniffing dog
The other a “home schooled” dog, trained by the owners law enforcement friend. This is not possessional training, there is no certification or guarantee this dog knows a bed bug from a carpet beetle.
This type of opportunism is bound to occur, but you don’t have to be a victim of it, if you:
- Ask to see the certificate
- Write the name of the school down
- Make a phone call to the academy to confirm they did train the dog.
- Check the training academy on the internet and watch their videos.
You can and should ask about certification when you call for a bed bug inspection. Then do your research on the academy, and call back if you feel confident. You can call the academy to confirm the dog did actually get trained at their facility. It’s worth the call to you, believe me.
I would never have a dog that was not trained at a professional academy with a proven track record and positive history, inspect my house for bed bugs. Not even for free!
A free inspection or cheap inspection with an “untrained” dog is worse than free. It can mean an inaccurate result that doesn’t inform you whether you have bed bugs or not. I’m linking this post to the full website, because I think this is so important.
Bed bug dog inspections are a fantastic tool, but unprofessionally trained dogs can make things worse for those trying to determine if bed bugs are their problem.
Seriously, I’m thinking about the environmental implications and ethics of heating up my clothes in the Packtite before going out into the frigid cold? Hmmm, really decadent? Would I incur some global warming carbon credit deductions? Brrrrr
Ok, it’s really close to 18 months since I declared (hesitantly) my bed bug infestation over, done, finished, clear, you get it. A LOT has happened since then, and during that time, that I haven’t talked about on this blog. I know that’s the idea of blogging right, to “spill the beans” but I’ve been hesitant. Don’t laugh but it’s partly because I hear there are crazy people on the internet and I don’t want to interact with them if I can help it. Not only that, but having bed bugs or having had them, can make you sound like one of those crazy people, so for lots of reasons I don’t or haven’t posted much in the way of personal stuff about me, your moderator. Being the poster girl for bed bugs here has made me more comfortable talking about the ordeal and how I feel about it, how it’s changed me, what’s come from it, and positive things have come from it, ironically.
There having been so much time elapsed since the end of the infestation and now, I’m going to do some catching up over a series of posts. I might ramble, or jump around in time, so it could get confusing but only for you. : ) See I’m smiling because I don’t have bed bugs anymore, but I’ve really only embraced that “reality” in the last few weeks. Huh? That’s right, after all this time, I’m finally ready to say with confidence, nervously, but with certainty that I do not have bed bugs.
Yep the last bed bug I saw in my home was in June 2009, that’s how crazy they made me. How anxious, uncertain, fearful and worried that they were somehow not really gone. Why did it take so long? Fear really, it’s that simple, and a series of small random but creepy events that made it hard to know “are they really gone?”
So this is the first of many revealing events of the last 2 and half years or as I’m going to call it My Bed Bug Odyssey.
Whew! Longest blog post title ever! I just put up a new page on the website where I present my theory, and not just mine anymore, that bed bug infestations may be nipped by isolating your bed with ClimbUp Interceptors and all the other standard bed isolating protocols. Read it and leave a comment here. See if you agree.
Also, in retrospect there is a different post on the same subject here on the blog. I wrote that a while ago, before I felt as fervent as I do now about the idea of pre-emptive strategies. I think that comes from the growing infestations, and therefore ever increasing possibility of coming into contact with “them.”
Recently, while interviewing a bed bug sniffing dog handler, the topic of DIY treatment came up. Here is a story I’ll share from that discussion. As you know, the owner of this website does not recommend DIY treatment for bed bugs over treatment by a licensed pest management company, BUT, this is an intriguing success story. (I’ll inject my own comments in italic)
Using a low vapor steamer and a bed bug dog a young couple eliminated bed bugs from their home. It wasn’t free or quick, but not as costly as professional heat treatment.
IMPORTANT: If you have applied pesticides to the floors/baseboards recently you cannot use this method. Steam will vaporize the pesticides, which you would then risk inhaling. It is recommended that a protective mask be worn when steaming
Here’s how they did it.
They made arrangements with a bed bug sniffing dog handler to have a series of inspections until they were bed bug free.
They had their first dog inspection to determine where the bugs were. Then they could treat those areas in depth, with the knowledge that yes, bed bugs could move to another location. Their plan provided for that.
They procured a low vapor steam cleaner (low vapor so as to minimize the risk of mold by emitting very little water).
They treated the items in their home according to typical precautions; Laundry, clutter, sealing things up in bags, cleaning. (I don’t know if they had a Packtite, but this would be very helpful for cushions and paper, etc.)
They isolated their bed after they steamed and ensured all blankets and pillows had been cleaned.
Keep in mind you would NOT use pesticides or DE during this process as steam will remove them and possibly poison you. If I were taking this approach, I would definitely use DE after the bed bugs were declared gone, just in case.
Then they began steaming everything in and around the areas that had positive “hits” by the dog. They did this repeatedly. They were meticulous in not re-infesting their bed by bringing one onto it.
Then they had another dog inspection. They pinpointed the positive hits and steamed again, and again.
This is how they did it. Until there were no more positive hits. If my memory serves me this took only a few weeks from start to clear. I’m really happy to hear stories like this. I know how hard they worked to succeed.
I admire their determination. That’s what kills bed bugs, determination.
There’s more information on our website Bedbugsnorthwest.com
This is a great new video explaining pesticide resistance in bed bugs from DDT to modern pyrethrins.