FALSE POSITIVE K9 DETECTION? FOLLOWED BY PHYSICAL INSPECTION...STILL NO SIGNS!(28 posts)
Glad to have found this site. I am currently in a heated 'disagreement' with a PCO and my co-op board based on a K9 inspection followed by physical human inspections. Here's my story:
My co-op had a mandatory inspection of all apts for bedbugs. This was performed over the holidays. I was not aware of or present for the first inspection, and according to the managing agent, he had sent a letter saying all apts would be entered. The board hired a PCO for the building to perform the inspections with dogs. During the first inspection, the dog ‘detected’ bedbugs in my apt.
A week later, the exterminators came back for a second round of inspections with the dogs, this time I was here. A handler came into my apt with the dog, did an inspection, and said the dog ‘detected’ bugs (I didn't go into bedroom with him, or see the dog 'detecting' bedbugs). He then did a thorough physical inspection of my bedroom without the dog, and found no sign of bedbugs. He said dogs are fairly accurate, but sometimes make mistakes. I have never seen a bedbug, been bitten, or had any signs, so I agreed with the handler and thought it was over.
A week later, I received a letter from the co-op saying since my apt had been detected as having bedbugs, I would have to pay for a mandatory extermination. This would automatically be billed to my March statement. They recommend 2 treatments taking 2-4 weeks. The cost is $900, but could go higher.
I immediately questioned this, based on what the handler told me (no sign of bedbugs in my apt). I told the board I objected to the mandatory treatment, and wanted a second or third opinion other than the company they hired for the building. At my own expense, I hired another extermination company to come out and perform another inspection. They did a thorough inspection of my bedroom, and found nothing. Absolutely nothing. This exterminator warned me that some PCOs like to be hired by large NYC buildings and bring in dogs to ‘detect’ situations in apts, then make shareholders pay for treatments. A total scam. He said there are no physical signs of bedbugs or any pests in my apt.
I sent the inspection report clearing my apt of bedbugs to the managing agent, and he said they cannot accept this second exterminators report, that they hired ______ (original ext company) and based on their findings, they would proceed. I then asked for another inspection by _____, which they performed today. The exterminator and bldg super were present at the inspection at my request, and again, did a thorough inspection of my bedroom and found nothing. This inspection was performed by the senior inspector of _____, and he said even though he didn’t see anything and there were no sign of bedbugs, he still recommended going ahead with treatment. Obviously.
I have now requested them to come out again with the dog to do another inspection. I want to fight this. Although I can accurately predict what the dog will ‘detect’ in my bedroom.
I have consulted my attorney and unfortunately, it looks like I don't have a real case. The co-op can argue that based on _____'s findings, they are treating this as a precaution for the building and will proceed with mandatory treatment. Even though there have been three physical inspections all showing negative for bedbugs, and I've never been bitten, I will probably have to proceed with the expensive treatment. Sucks.
Just wondering if anyone else out there has had similar problems/issues with false positive K9 inspections, and possibly with tough NYC co-op boards or managing agents. Feeling at the mercy of the co-op & PCO, and not happy about it.
I sent a PM with my contact info.
I am not trained to provide legal advice in New York.
Have your attorney read the NY statute on pest control and the labels of the products that are going to be utilized... pay close attention to any language requiring visual confirmation of an infestation prior to treatment.
If I understand your comment correctly, there has not been any visual confirmation or sign of bed bugs in your unit at this point.
Have physical signs of live activity been found in the building?
Are other adjacent units infested?
Is there any other evidence that there could be an infestation in your unit?
I am only asking to rule out other potential reasons that would indicate that your residence should be treated in addition to the unconfirmed K9 alert.
I am a bed bug dog handler. i wanted to start with that so everyone knows where i come from. i think people need to realize there are good teams and maybe not so good bed bug dog teams. i think it would really help this forum if people started to name the companies that they have experiences with wether it would be good or bad so people can make an educated decsion on what teams to hire
Is this building on 23rd Street?
Bed Bug Dog is a trademark of Florida Canine Academy.... You are a PepeDog handler.
Please do not identify yourself with our trademark... You are not affiliated with Florida Canine Academy.
Attempting to confuse consumers by identifying yourself with our trademark is unprofessional.
im not interested in arguing with you. I am trying to offer advice to the victims of bed bugs on this forum. I have never seen any evidence that the term bed bug dog is trademarked. I am a trained handler by pepe i have never lead anyone to think otherwise. I would like to stay on topic. People of this forum should say what company did there search when writing a review whether or not its postive or negative.
I am not interested in arguing either.
I have politely pointed out repeatedly that BedBugDog is our trademark.
Identifying yourself with our trademark is unprofessional behavior on your part.
It is not my fault that you are completely ignorant on this subject.
As I stated in my PM an unconfirmed K9 alert is not the same as a visual identification.
There should be visual signs of physical evidence of live activity.
You might want to suggest the use of a monitoring system as an alternative
Thanks for the responses, and Doug thanks for the PM.
According to the building managing agent, there were 13 positive detections by the K9 inspection. Due to privacy, he won't tell me which apartments, so I'm not sure if any are neighboring. There are 200 apts in this building. I am also not sure if the 13 detections were followed by thorough physical / visual inspections.
There has never been any physical evidence or sign of bedbugs in the apt, that's why I was very suspicious of their K9 detection method. Plus the first was done when no one was inside the apt during K9 inspection. They could've said anything. This was followed by 3 physical inspections all turning up negative for bedbugs, which confirmed my suspicions of a false positive K9 detection.
To answer other posts: this building is located in Financial Dist, close to Wall St
And I cant really identify/disparage the PCO since this is a public forum. But PM me...
The next inspection happens next week, with K9, 2-3 from the PCO, and bldg managing agent. I'm making a big deal about it because I believe I'm being scammed. But again, I think the co-op and PCO have the upper hand here, and it's a case of David vs Goliath.
To update everyone, the PCO came out again today with K9, the co-op managing agent, plus super for the building, all to inspect my apt one last time for positive signs of bedbugs. As expected, the dog alerted to one spot on my bed (I knew it would after the previous 'detections'). He was given a treat after alerting the handler. The dog did an entire search of my apt - not just bedroom - and signaled no other detections. The handler then removed the dog from apt, we took apart the bedding, stripped the mattress, brought the dog back in, and it alerted again. Then got a treat.
Visual inspections were done to mattress, we lifted it off to look at bedframe, turned bedframe upside down, thoroughly inspecting every crevice in bedframe (I have platform bed with slats - no boxspring), and guess what? Found nothing. No signs of anything. Nada. This is with four people looking with flashlights and magnifying glasses. The only thing we did notice is on the mattress cover I had purchased a few years ago, during the move there were 3 small holes, which the PCO said is how the bedbugs are in my mattress!
At this point I knew I was screwed because the co-op hired this PCO, and due to the positive K9 detection, I would have to get treatment to satisfy the co-op. I asked the PCO for bedbug monitors that you place under the bedframe legs as an option to do BEFORE treating apt (so I could finally have visual signs), and he shrugged it off, saying bedbugs can fall from the ceiling. I asked how do they get back up there with no wings? They have to crawl there somehow.
So in the next few weeks I will have to bag everything, have the apt treated that has no visible signs anywhere of bedbugs, I've never seen any or been bitten, and there is nothing I can do. Really pissed about this whole thing. It is 2-4 weeks of your life turned upside down.
The managing agent did tell me no other apts on this floor had positive bedbug detections. My apt was somehow marked!
Wanted to share this...hope this doesnt happen to anyone else. Legally, in a co-op situation, there is nothing you can do but bow to their demands. Time to look for a condo!
I'd suggest you speak to the attorney to determine if you can recover for any loss of property or expense.
As I understand it, in a coop, you're a tenant if the building (and the LL is obligated to keep it bug free). Of course, you're also a shareholder, so it's out of your pocket.
All told, I'd vote coop over condo when it comes to acting as a building in a real crisis, like BB.
Interesting how this is so similar to my situation. You seem to be a little further down the road than I am. My entire apt was clean except for a small wooden antique table that has been in my apt for 6+ years.
I wonder if its the same management company and PCO... Hmmm... Further investigation may be in order...
I also noticed the similarity with your experience.
It sounds like you might want to swap notes with nosigns.
Did you place a bed bug mattress encasement on your mattress. Now it doesn't matter if the bugs are inside, they can't get out. Mattress could be treated with an approved insecticide and then encased.
Havent been on here in a while so apologize for the late response.
I did have the treatments done, per the mandate of the co-op board. There was nothing I could legally do to stop it.
Bell Environmental came out to do the treatments (2) at $1000 per treatment, so I had to cough up $2000 for treatment/extermination to bedbugs that I never had. It was over a two week period, and everything was bagged up in my apt. Still pissed about it. But it gets better...Bell gave me the 'all clear' after the second treatment, and didnt even have their favorite K9 Roscoe come out again to bark at my bed (or not bark) then get a treat. They did a half ass walk through and said it's all clear. BE WARNED!
The managing agent for this building is Rose Associates, the building is 3 Hanover Square.
I just endured a $2000 total scam.
oh that's terrible. I am sorry you had to put up with that kind of ruse with no legal recourse
Wow! I can't believe they can get away with that.
Doug, do the dogs alert to only live bed bugs or dead ones too? I'm just wondering if the dogs alert to dead bugs, how you would ever know a place was "clean" if there are dead ones in places you can't see into (like walls, floors etc)
No signs: have you been able to find out who the other tenants were that had positive alerts?
I would advise tenants that are renting in NYC to visit the link above. scroll down to Warranty of Habitability. This will explain the responsibility of your landlord regarding pest. Hope this helps.
I can not speak for all k9 bed bug teams however our dog is live bug trained only. And he is very effective.
Having said the preceding, the reality is k9's do have bad days like everyone else. Sometimes you just have to regroup and come back a bit later or reschedule if your dog is not "on". Usually, a short trip outside to refocus is all that is needed however each dog and handler is different.
If you do get a false positive, circle the dog around and bring him back and see if he can pick up the same spot.
As for verifying live activity by visual inspection, highly qualified well trained k9's are hitting in the 95% + range whereas the best a human can detect by visual is perhaps 40% by a well seasoned PMP. I like the odds of our k9 however there a more than a few hucksters out there passing "sniffing dogs" off as bomb-drug-bed bug sniffing multi-taskers.
Educate, educate, educate - ask for references and call them asking the right questions. Can not comment on any NY State law or the situation at hand. Nothing surprises me in business when there are people who are desperate and dregs who take advantage of them.
Nobody cross trains a bomb dog to find bed bugs... that is a ridiculous statement.
Nor have I ever seen a drug sniffing bed bug detection dog in the field.
Bomb, drug and arson dogs are all cross trained for different scents.
Marijuana, cocaine, meth and opiates all smell different... Bombs can be made from different materials and arsonist use many different types of accelerants.
Some forensic applications require a dog team to reliably detect over 32 different odors
The key issue is visual identification of the pest in the location of the K9 alert.
Some K9s are trained to ignore feces, cast skins and dead bugs... Others are trained on a dual alert to detect live and dead materials.
I had a landlord come to me early last week asking if I knew about so & so with a "bug dog" in our region. Apparently, this landlord tried to get out on the cheap and hired a character about a month ago who had (and I swear this is what the LL told me) a "multi-tasking dog" who was able to sniff out "bombs, drugs and all kinds of insects including bed bugs".
The Landlord was quite happy when the character informed him he did not have bed bugs despite tenant's concerns. Imagine the LL's surprise when a few more tenants complained last week about bed bugs with samples as evidence.
At first I thought the LL was drinking before he called me because his story was too stupid for words. But he was dead serious. Needless to say, the LL was not very pleased when we pointed out the error of his multi-tasking k9 team.
Positive ID after k9 scent alert is critical to confirm activity. I was not very clear and muddled the waters as I was speaking about PMP only inspections versus k9 team sniff & visual. Thanks for clarifying.
I hope that we can educate people who come to this forum on what to look for when they call a true professional pest management company. Every company has their own ways but the message in general is the same across the board.
Okay, I stand corrected on the existence of a bomb / drug / insect detection dog.
I have to agree ... that sounds like an outrageous scam.
Last week, I had someone describe an ad for an inexpensive electronic wand that detects bed bugs when it is passed over them.... Dishonest people prey on consumers who are under duress.
Where can I get the Canadian rights for this magic bed bug wand? That's a hot one . . . .
I'm not 40% cowboy and I'm human =) I'm sure David from the UK would also think he's better then 40%.
I don't know where that 40% accuracy for visual inspections stat originated...
I haven't found any published research that has evaluated the effectiveness of a visual inspection for bed bugs in a true field study.
I suspect that the detection accuracy would be highly variable between different inspectors... It would be hard to calculate an overall percentage that would have any validity.
The question comes up a lot when people discuss K9 team accuracy and make the comparison to an unaided inspector.
I haven't been able to locate any scientific evidence to support the 40% figure that is sometimes mentioned in the media.
I am only aware of maybe 1 or 2 occasions in 7 years that I have failed to find an infestation of 1 or 2 bugs. I don't however claim a 99.99% detection rate.
I know those of us who work at this level are to say the least somewhat unique but this does come from a lot of field experience. I have said it before you cant call yourself an expert until you have literally cleared a few thousand cases and started to work out the finer details of "in field" bed bug control. There are still less than 10 full time bed bug only specialist groups in the world which I dare say makes us some of the most specialist people on the face of the planet at this point in time.
Likewise I am not aware of a single case in 5 years that has been treated by my company without finding at least one of the following:
- Live sample
- Cast Skin
- Faecal trace
I am an advocate of the use of dogs for scent detection but part of that is the confirmation of the alert via visual inspection. In the UK I am now aware of 4 dog teams working, 2 UK trained using visual confirmation skills and 2 US imported who do not follow this philosophy. Interestingly the two visual confirming teams have about 25,000 case histories between them while the other two include one of the largest pest control firms in the world with a much less impressive clean up rate.
As others have said, if your team cant visually confirm look at other monitoring solutions before treating, there are cost effective and speedy solutions now on the market.
I also think its about time that people asked K9 units about confirmation strategy as a selection criteria, if nothing else it will help drive the market towards the delivery of quality services. To put this into context if you claim 95% accuracy then that is actually a potential 1 room in 20 miss so you should at least QC and visually check 1 room in 20.
I am working on some UK long term solutions to the quality service delivery issues that this like all industries face but as with all things it takes time and money to develop. Time is in short supply and there are always other things that need to be invested in but I don't think 2010 will finish before we have a set of clear and manageable set standards to share with people.
Bed Bugs Limited
My opinion on the success of visual inspections greatly depends on when the inspection is being performed.
If it's pre-treatment and the bugs have not been disturbed and the bugs were introduced a week or two prior to the inspection (which is probably 95-99% of the time), the bugs should be in predictable locations and I would think a good, thorough visual inspection is at least 70-80% effective.
If it's post-treatment and the bugs in the predictable locations have been eliminated but there are a few bugs left somewhere that follow-up treatments will eliminate, the 40% I think is pretty accurate. Those bugs are tough to find and if you could find them easily, any good PCO would have eliminated them.
As for dogs and visual confirmation, many experts in the industry are starting to side with "showing me the bug" after a dog has a positive indication. When I first submersed myself in the canine industry 3 years ago many trainers were saying you had to trust the dog as the ability of their nose is better then our eyesight and if the dog says they are there, they are there. I'm not saying there won't be instances that the dog positively indicates on a bug that you can't visually detect but it should only make up 25% of indications and maybe less then that.
If a dog continually says "yes there are bugs here" and you can only confirm a handful of those, that's a problem and most trainers are starting to agree.
noSigns - 3 weeks ago »
I just endured a $2000 total scam.
Hey noSigns. That is brutal. What an ordeal. I wish there were some clear avenue for recourse that you could follow, because what happened here is so wrong. If the press is looking for a new angle on the bedbug story, this kind of exploitation is ripe for an expose.
You know, I always wondered how some exterminator firms could afford to buy such gratuitous amounts of TV advertising-time. Now, I know. I don't even watch that much television, but it's amazing how often that deep, whispery, conspiratorial announcer's voice pops up during prime time viewing hours. I find those ads irritating: fear-mongering, and peddling technologies which imply results that seem to be good to be true.
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