How much faith should we put in a canine inspection? We had a canine inspection+(10 posts)
on Friday after suspecting we have a bb problem. I have been receiving bites - mostly on my left leg and foot but also one or two on my back. We had checked the mattress and area ourselves and found no signs of bb - no blood spots or feces. We also checked our dog for fleas and did not find anything.
The canine indicated that there was activity on the left side of our bed. The inspector lifted the mattress, looked around and did not find anything. We were disappointed that he couldn't confirm anything and very kindly offered to come back again. So we cleared out everything from under the bed so that he could come back the next day and try again - and get down underneath etc.
Once again the dog indicated the left side of the bed. Yet no visual confirmation. Based on the dogs indication, and my bites, we decided we should go to treatment.
HOWEVER, the following morning I found a flea on my dogs blanket. Just one, and have not seen any others yet.
My question is this - how much faith should we put into the dogs indication? We bought a steamer and insecticide and systematically took off the mattress and then took apart the bed frame, piece by piece.....we steamed and inspected every thing and still found no signs of bb. Could it possibly just be fleas or should we believe the dogs indication that there was bb activity on the bed somewhere? The inspector talked to us about false positives and how the dogs are trained against that - but could the dog have been wrong??
I should also mention I have not had any bites for a few days but I also recognize that could be due to the bugs laying dormant from the activity in the room.
No Bugs put it best in her FAQ.
Ok so do not put all your faith in a dog if there is no other evidence....
Thank you for this.
All of the experts on the board (of which I'm not one) seem to agree that you should not treat without physical evidence.
To cover all bets, you just can't go wrong with passive monitors.
we ordered some online but they won't arrive for two weeks....
Here's how I think of dog/handler detection teams:
good ones narrow down the places that a human inspector needs to search, but it doesn't replace the searching.
Think about the average home. Now look at how small bed bugs and their eggs are. The amount of labor needed to comprehensively search every square millimeter of a home and its contents is cost-prohibitive.
Bringing in a good dog/handler team to narrow down which places need to be comprehensively searched can be useful.
But just having a dog alert without a follow up inspection isn't a clear diagnosis of a definite bed bug infestation.
The closest analogy (granted, an imperfect analogy, but the best I can do) is that early bed bug infestations are almost like a diagnosis of exclusion in the medical world. A diagnosis of exclusion means running a lot of tests and ruling out lots of other things rather than necessarily having a clinical confirmation of a particular disease or issue.
With bed bugs, you're ruling out lots of other things while waiting for there to be incontrovertible physical evidence that you have bed bugs.
I would, if I were you, treat the dog for fleas since you found one. That could be the source of the bites. In the mean time, continue to inspect on your own. (If you haven't found a good PCO with experience with bed bugs, I would continue to look for one. The best training I got on inspecting came from a PCO.)
I know it's frustrating; the whole wait and see thing seems totally counterintuitive, esp. in the face of what we read about how bad bed bugs are, but there's not a lot more you can do right now except inspect, monitor, and do what you can to reduce or rule out other pests while you wait for physical evidence of bugs. Well, okay, and look for a PCO who knows bed bugs to inspect/advise in the meantime.
Hang in there.
thank you very much for this.
You are so right - it seems counterintuative to just wait....but its true that we have no physical evidence of bedbugs - and we do have physical evidence of at least a flea.
We went to the vet yesterday and had the dog put on flea medicine - and bought flea spray to use around the house.
The PCO that came to our apartment with the dog did seem very knowledgable - he just wasn't able to find any evidence and as we took the bed apart - neither did we. Perhaps its naive to think we would have seen anything though.
We have passive monitors en route but its two weeks shipping to Canada so we will have to await those.
Pest control these days is narrowly focused to the pest in question, so *effective* treatment can't begin until the pest has been identified. It's not what any of us want to hear when we feel like our homes have been invaded by evil vermin, but it is the truth.
And for the most part, with most regular pests, that shift has served us well. we're better at getting rid of ants and roaches than we used to be. Unfortunately, since bed bugs were thought to be eradicated, we missed decades of research on them, so we're behind on that front.
But we're slowly learning more, and I just had to remind myself that it made more sense to do it right from the start because that would speed thing up in the long run than to rush into something that was the wrong thing to do.
In the bad old days, I would likely have assumed that you had them and hadn't found them yet, but these days as awareness of bed bugs has increased, I've seen a lot more false positives (not just dog false positives--I mean people who think they have bed bugs who actually have something else) than I ever thought I would.
I will definitely cross my fingers that it's just fleas. (Who knew there would come a time I would welcome a flea infestation, right?)
I never thought I would be so happy to possibly have fleas in the house!!
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