Watch Out for Fake Bed Bug Dogs

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.


Bed Bug Forum Portland Oregon

In August (last month) Portland Public Health Vector Control hosted a forum on Bed Bugs.  As I have been in contact (sending links/articles/rants) with Public Health throughout my ordeal, I was contacted and asked to speak at the forum as a former “victim” of you know who.

There were about 50 people from various organizations and businesses present, mostly folks who work in public housing, social services, shelters, hotels. Sprague Pest Control was there with April the bed bug sniffing dog.

I was able to tell my own personal story of torment and redemption (no bites or bugs seen since May 2009) and created a slide show that showed what my little house looked like before (lots of fabric decoration, clutter, think the Adams Family parlor crammed into 416 sq feet) and after (more austere, metal bed, legs in bowls of Murphy Oil) my bed bug accessories; dry vapor steamer, packtite, and a list of my favorite poisons from my various treatments. I also brought my little bed bug I keep in a plastic bag in my freezer for show and tell and passed it around thinking it would help with identification.

It was great to be part of what I hope is the beginning of public education about bed bugs in Oregon. This was about a week prior to the Bed Bug Symposium in Seattle. My next project will be to work with Public Health to develop a task force with printed and web guidelines on what to do and not do if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of dealing with bed bugs.


Who Ya Gonna Call? Pest Companies in Portland, Oregon

I can only speak about the Pest Control Companies I used, so here goes.

Halt – I would not call them back EVER. That’s all I’m going to say.

Terminex – My property management company had a contract with Terminex and I had my doubts. But they definitely helped. The freezing Cryonite treatment only kills what it touches, just like steam, but it was helpful and they used a variety of poisons. They took apart my Murphy Bed (External, mounted to the wall like a bookcase) and treated the platform underneath finding several live adults. This bed was soon dismantled, wrapped in plastic and taken away, as I realized it was just untreatable, contrary to the first pest company’s assurance that they could treat  that bed. No way. They used a variety of poison both long term and short, including controversial growth inhibitors.

Paramount Pest Control – I used them to Vikane some furniture including an overstuffed sofa, dresser, computer, and some other stuff. They did inspect my home, but they wanted to remove my bed bug proof mattress cover during the inspection.

And lastly, Dave “The Bug Man.” Dave was VERY thorough and seemed to understand the level of detail required to solve the problem once and for all. If I had this problem again, he’s the guy I would call. He inspected everything and treated my house in detail with a variety of poison. My house was turned upside down after he left, and I was glad for it.

Sprague Pest Control – No treatment from Sprague but they do have April “The Dog.” And a sweety she is. She found no traces in our building or my house. Thank you Sprague! AN UPDATE: October 27th 2009, Had a follow up inspection with April today and my house was clear. My vehicle, however was not. It was fascinating to watch April sit and “alert” then scratch in the direction she sensed bugs. My car will undergo thermal treatment by Sprague in two days. Imagine, being able to eliminate bed bugs in one day! We can evolve faster than bed bugs.

You can email me for more information if you like. I would love for YOU to comment on any pest companies you have used and the results.


Some post soon, I’ll talk in detail about the steps I took, where I am right now….anxious, hopeful, fearful, alive!

April the Bed Bug Sniffing Dog

April the Bed Bug Sniffing Dog, Sprague Pest Control.

Hopefully the saga ends here. On Friday a bug sniffing dog and her handler came out to give a check on the bed bug situation. It’s been five weeks with no bites or trace of them. My house came out all clear. So that makes Dave “The Bug Man”, and April, who say, it’s good, they’re gone.

That makes two species, and I’m going with it. I’m going to ease into normal, and continue to bag my laundry and clothes for a few more weeks. Not because I have doubts, I just need time to work back into normal living in a way that doesn’t increase my anxiety. Putting up window blinds today after no window coverings for four months. This is a big step. I continue to Packtite things in bags before removing items, and this gives peace of mind also.

Next steps are to try to work with Trimet and Public Health to raise awareness of Bed Bugs, their spread and precautions. This will be a challenge, although Public Health has been very interested and supportive. Trimet seems not too interested at this time in discussing the topic. However public transit is the perfect mode of hitch-hiking for these pests, so it would seem, a protocol for protecting passengers would be in order. Tarrabyte