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bed bug dogs & PCOs

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  1. very_worried

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    Posted 3 months ago
    Fri May 31 2019 9:56:04
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    Just because David and I were discussing it under another thread, I thought I would provide this info for other people who might be in Zurich, Switzerland or Montreal, Canada. Feel free to read - it is quite a long post. I do name specific services below, but please understand I am not providing an official review of them or an endorsement - I'm just outlining my experience with them.

    To help with our detection of bed bugs, we used bed bug dogs. I can give a qualified recommendation for using bed bug dogs because the fact of the matter is, the reliability of a dog is wholly dependent on the trainer, at least I have noted this from my experience.

    Zurich

    The city of Zurich actually has a bed bug hotline, though only open Mon-Thurs during the day (it's Switzerland after all.) The gentleman there was super helpful. The city lends out climb ups for the bed. They also have a list of trusted PCOs that specifically deal with bed bugs. I must admit, however, that my experience with one of the companies was not stellar. Insekta was easy to contact, made an appointment immediately, and it seems to have a good reputation according to other PCOs, but the PCO they sent to me was not great. Honestly, if I had not had a bed bug in jar to show him, he would have told me we have no bed bugs. He started a visual check but didn't bother to check the bed slats because he said it would take too long. He suggested we hire a bed bug dog and gave me a recommendation. This company (I think it was SpiritHund or something to that effect) was unavailable because their dogs were sick. We ended up finding a list of bed bug dogs in Switzerland online, though many of the listed companies were defunct. Eventually, we hit on sniffles.ch and that was the service we used.

    I was not present for the bed bug dog checks of our apartment in Zurich, but I was told, the handler was professional. She rewarded the dog through play rather than treats, and she rested the dog often. She came twice - once for the detection and a month and half after treatment. Her background appears to be in training rescue dogs.

    Montreal

    I hired one company Thermapro. They were punctual and professional. The handler does a visual confirmation if the dog detects bed bugs. The dog he brought seemed very hyperactive and did not want to sniff. The handler claimed it was because there was nothing to detect. I admit I was suspicious and it was at the height of my anxiety, so I decided for my mental health to hire a second bed bug dog service.

    This time I went with a service that was not connected to any pest control service directly. Élite K9 Canin only does detection. It does not do a visual confirmation. Ann, the name of the handler, has three dogs (and if I understood correctly was in the process of training two more,) and she used a '2 out of 3' system. The first dog, comes in, sniffs and if he alerts, she takes him back down, and brings in a second dog. The second dog is not in the apartment so does not know what the first dog did. If the second dog alerts, then it is considered a positive alert. If he/she does not, a third dog is brought up. If the third dog alerts, it's positive. If there is no alert, it's negative. These dogs were the most professional dogs I've ever seen. They walk into the apartment and you know they are here to sniff out bed bugs, period. They are all business. Extremely well trained animals. I didn't see her reward the dogs until the end. I believe her background is in police dog training.

    The PCO that did the treatment in our Montreal apartment (Solution Cimex in Granby and Montreal) was professional and extremely punctual. The bed bug dogs alerted to the closet and not the bed in Montreal so we used the Élite dogs to deduce whether the bed bugs were in clothes or in the closet itself. It turned out to be in my husband's outdoor gear that had been in bags that were exposed to bed bugs from our apartment in Zurich (fun times.) The PCO in Montreal commented that Ann's dog was one of the most reliable and accurate bed bug dogs in the market. I think he is correct. The detection and treatment in Montreal was a positive experience.

    Cost - the bed bug dog services were relatively inexpensive though if you choose to hire a bed bug dog, it's usually on top of a PCO. Basically between 300-500CHF. In Canada, between $250-450. Generally the PCOs were more expensive. Though Solution Cimex and Élite K9 were both affordable services, I think. It might be that the PCO was relatively inexpensive for me since the bed bugs never did get a chance to get comfortable in the apartment.

    So this is a 'quick' summary of my experience with bed bug dogs. I would say for the most part it was a positive experience and with the one company in Montreal, it was definitely worth it.

    Good luck!


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