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Bed Bug Dog False Positive?

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  1. fcinwesternstate

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jan 21 2014 15:13:09
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    I live in an apartment building in a western state and the management paid for a bed bug dog to check out the apartment after I showed them what I thought was a bed bug that had crawled on my comforter at night. The apartment below me and one over had also discovered bed bugs and has been treated. The apartment above them, next to mine, reported having bed bugs but none were reportedly found by a dog or visual inspection after the tenant vacated.

    The results of the dog inspection were puzzling, hits in areas of the house where it seemed unlikely they would be (kitchen table, bathroom sink), none at the head of the bed where I found the bug, but at the foot of the bed. Pest control told me that bed bugs tend to nest at the opposite end of bed from where they feed, which might explain the dog getting a hit at the foot of the bed, but I'm still confused about the hits in other rooms. In every instance, the location where the dog got the hit was near a ceiling vent or in a closet which is connected by ventilation to the treated apartment. In searching for information about false positives for bed bug dogs, I read something about the possibility of dogs picking up the scent from other apartments via a vent. Pest control says there is no possibility of that unless the heat is on, but I still wonder. There has been no physical confirmation of bed bugs by a specialist and no word about identification of the bug I found, though I've emailed a reminder. I inspected my mattress and found nothing. I have had raised red bumps on my neck which might be bites and what looked like a rash on one hand that has since gone away. Given that I started experiencing the bites a few months ago (in the fall), I would think signs of bed bugs would be noticeable.

    The other complicating factor in my situation is that there have been raccoons in the attic above my apartment for several months now. I wondered whether attempts to eliminate them, which have so far not been successful, disturbed a possible bat population and the bug I found was a bat bug. I also wonder whether there might be other insects from the raccoon population which might account for the bites.

    I'm assuming that the apartment complex will insist on treatment regardless, but I would appreciate any feedback (I understand it can't be definitive) about false positives with bed bug dogs, the possibility of bat bugs or other pests from the ecosystem in the attic.

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jan 22 2014 8:27:36
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    Hi,

    Yes false positive's do get reported with K9 teams which is why its so essential to stick to the "Show me the bug rule". There is a K9 FAQ specifically about this matter.

    Some of the information you have been given by your PCO is outright wrong and I would advise that you go back to step 1 and move forward logically.

    If you suspect bat activity the next sample you find should be inspected under 30X magnification to rule out closely related species and confirm the ID.

    The adjoining units should be checked, for them to be your source the infestation would be easy to stop as bedbugs don't skip from one unit to the next, the set up a base camp and move out to colonise from there.

    The FAQ's are your best tool at this stage as you may have to educate the management company because it would appear that their "pest professionals" only have the right to use one of those words.

    Hope this helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about pro
  3. fcinwesternstate

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jan 22 2014 12:31:03
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    Hello David,

    Thank you so much for your response. I went back and read the FAQ on K9 teams. I did tell one of the office managers that I was concerned about not having visual confirmation. But the management trusts both the K-9 company and the PCO. They will insist on treatment regardless. I examined two of the locations identified by the K-9 company because I really wanted visual confirmation. I found nothing in a basket in the bathroom. But I did find fecal stains on a sheet in a wicker trunk at the foot of the bed and possibly an egg. I found no bugs.

    Can you clarify this part of your response? "The adjoining units should be checked, ***for them to be your source the infestation would be easy to stop as bedbugs don't skip from one unit to the next,*** the set up a base camp and move out to colonise from there." Are you saying that the infestation would be easy to stop because it's identified as opposed to the bed bugs being brought in from a visitor or someplace else I've been?

    I know that you may not have time to identify the things that my PCO said that were wrong, but if you do, I would be interested to know. He seemed to know nothing about bat bugs and said that bed bugs would not likely survive in the summer or winter in a car.

    While I'm writing to you, I'll ask my question about the Packtite passive monitor, which I'd like to place in my room and in my office after treatment. (I did watch the video.) For a bed without a headboard, I'm thinking on the wall at the head of the bed. In the office, I'm thinking under or behind the couch. Any feedback?

    Many thanks.

  4. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jan 22 2014 13:08:34
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    Hi,

    The only way that those bonds break is when one or both parties realises what they are going has legal ramifications or if the client gets complaints that the PCO's methods do not appear to be working. Its common in pest control where the "bug guy got us out of the sling last time and we hate to even think about pest control". Increasingly in the UK companies are employing consultants to write better specifications for pest control service to move away from the personal relationships like this.

    Sorry the auto correct on my phone introduced a mistake, it should have read:

    The adjoining units should be checked, for them to be your source the infestation would be easy to spot as bedbugs don't skip from one unit to the next, the set up a base camp and move out to colonise from there.

    I am in a different time zone to many of you so my evenings tend to reply via a phone which means fewer links and pictures within my posts.

    Sorry there is just too much of what they have said wrong to ID it all without it looking like a massacre or assassination. Its better for you to read up and see from here and the other quality linked websites how off base they are being with their comments, even the car comment is so wrong its a common post on here.

    Please look at my comments here about wall installation of Passive Monitors, I personally do not recommend that, its a hang over from something in the past. The most comprehensive information is on my link below as well as the installation advice you will read on the forum:

    http://www.bed-bugs.co.uk/bedbugpassivemonitors.html

    The only good news on this one is that it really sounds as if you don't have a significant issue with bedbugs or you would have been able to find signs that the K9 team did not bother to look for.

    It may even be that you have never had bedbugs and in which case the stress you are currently under is "shame on them for not being professional and doing the right job".

    Hope that makes sense.

    David

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor.

  5. potomaccanine

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jan 22 2014 13:53:24
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    It should always be show me the bug. Show me the bug. Show me the bug.

  6. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jan 22 2014 13:57:17
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    potomaccanine - 2 minutes ago  » 
    It should always be show me the bug. Show me the bug. Show me the bug.

    Seconded in the hope that one day it will have enough momentum to become law.

    David

  7. BigDummy

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jan 22 2014 18:29:03
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    The transfer via air ducts has me a bit puzzled. Is this an older building? Do you not have your own thermostat to control your unit's temperature? Maybe it's a regional thing but I've never seen a shared ductwork apartment complex. An old house that was cut up into apartments perhaps…
    Also, the kitchen and bathroom hits from the dog, are they on a shared wall with the apartment that had/has an infestation?

  8. fcinwesternstate

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jan 22 2014 22:17:01
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    I do have a thermostat to control my apartment's temperature. I don't know if I was clear in what I said about the air vents. I didn't mean that bed bugs had traveled via the air vents (though why should that not be possible?), only that the dog might pick up smells from neighboring apartments via the vents. I don't know when the apartments were built, maybe the 1960's, but I can smell when the neighbor below me cooks with garlic or when the neighbors kitty corner below smoked. I was simply puzzled that some of the hits were in locations where I didn't think bed bugs would be (maybe I'm not well enough informed) and that every hit was beneath a vent.

    The kitchen and bathroom walls are shared with an apartment whose tenant told me he had bed bugs. He lived somewhere else for several months before moving his belongings. Once he vacated, the apartment management said there were no hits from the K-9 and no physical evidence. The apartment below his, however, had a mild infestation, with identification of bed bugs.

  9. BigDummy

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jan 23 2014 8:29:50
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    Sorry, I do AC work so my ears tune in to certain things. Garlic and smoke are strong enough that you'd smell them through a wall. The ductwork isn't shared. My thoughts on the kitchen and bath are that they are likely mirrored on the wall in the next apartment and have penetrations that might allow for travel of scent or bugs themselves. But I would imagine it would have to be a pretty hefty infestation next door for that to be the case. Just dorking out on construction thoughts and the possibility for transfer, listen to the other folks before me.


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