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Bed Bug Dogs and False Negatives

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  1. rs1971

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Nov 21 2010 7:12:37
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    Hi,

    I've read a lot of discussion on this website (as well as other places on the net) on the topic of bed bug sniffing dogs make false positive indications. But what about false negatives? (ie, there are bed bugs present but the dog doesn't alert) Do the dog handlers and other bed bug professionals on the board think that false negatives are less, as, or more likely than false positives?

    I ask because my apartment was cleared by a dog about a month ago (no alerts at all) but I continue to have reactions (mostly on my back) which I think are insect related. How much stock should I put in the all clear from the dog? Thanks.

    -rs1971

  2. toledo

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Nov 21 2010 8:59:54
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    I tested the dog that I hired and he failed. I had a single live bed bug in a sandwich bag. The handler told me that the dog was so sensitive that he could detect even a single bug. He wasn't so sure how the sandwich bag would affect the dog, so I stuck the bed bug to a small piece of scotch tape. When the dog and handler went upstairs, I hid it behind a throw pillow on a chair in my living room. (The dog had previously given me an "all clear" in that room.) Upstairs, the dog alerted next to the bed where I had already told him I found the bed bug. When the dog came downstairs, he walked around the living room a couple of times and marked (sat down) in front of the sofa. I told him that was wrong. Next he marked in front of the loveseat. Wrong again. Then they walked between the two chairs and the dog sat down in front of the wrong chair. So, yes, I would say that dogs can give you false positives and false negatives.

  3. BuggyMomma

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Nov 21 2010 9:32:55
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    I can't say for sure but I believe that is what I am dealing with. In the last 2 months since we returned from vacation me and my son have been bi at night and cannot find an explanation. I have a had 2 dogs in that time and neither has found anything yet every night we have bites so who knows. I thought I would feel better with 90% but I just think it depends on the dog, team, day and circumstances. False negatives are possible.

  4. Beth

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Nov 21 2010 11:24:43
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    I am really starting to wonder about bed bug dogs. I had one in and he cleared the place, but am getting bitten on my shoulders and upper back and do think my vikane treatment failed. I thought at first fleas, but no bites on the ankles or waist. Which totally blows. Basically, at this point, I trust no one to detect and/or rid a bedbug infestation. For those who get rid of them, it's luck or having enough money or power you know a pco who will do a thorough job. Otherwise, we're all screwed, and I see no reason why a dog would be able to sniff out one or two stray eggs or one bug. The bugs make a scent after being established and having the scent of human blood excrement in their nest, not merely by existing.

    I have come to the conclusion the only way to rid a bedbug infestation is to leave everything behind or, as I said, have enough money or friends in the right places or get lucky.

    My friend, whose car I borrowed for the vikane, now has bedbugs. She is in denial but I saw the welts last night and she is complaining of bites on her upper body and can't stop itching. She just moved in with another friend of mine and spends the night at an additional friend's place some nights, and we all hang out everywhere. At this point, and I'm in Buffalo, not NYC, by this time next year, if every single one of my friends isn't infested, I'll be surprised. Not because of just me, we know others infested too, one friend is storing people's stuff in his place, unsealed, and the metro system here is swarming. We can't even agree to babysit one another's children. I try to educate people, but why listen to me? I can't get rid of the damn things. But god if I know how to prevent them.

    This is a serious plague and we will have nowhere to go for a night of peaceful rest. If a dog fails, or treatment fails, we should be reimbursed. And I say again, treatment should be socialized.

    Amy

  5. Grateful for Help

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Aug 3 2011 16:29:15
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    rs1971 - 8 months ago  » 
    I've read a lot of discussion on this website (as well as other places on the net) on the topic of bed bug sniffing dogs make false positive indications. But what about false negatives? (ie, there are bed bugs present but the dog doesn't alert) Do the dog handlers and other bed bug professionals on the board think that false negatives are less, as, or more likely than false positives?

    Great question.

    I hired a k9 team based on the hope that there were more false alerts, than false negatives, ultimately, I care less about a false alert, but repeated false negatives make the inspection purposeless! ...My experience thus far, has been pretty frustrating.

    My friend had his house checked preventatively, and I got mine checked the same day, as we live nearby. It turns out, after 5 weeks, and a guest staying in the room perhaps twice in that time (ie, not enough biting time to grow through nymph stages to adult) that he found about TWO DOZEN all different age bbs on the side of the mattress. That leads me to think false negative. (please correct me if I'm wrong in this surmise... trying to follow biological life-cycle logic)

    The dog team came back to check the house again, for free (which was nice, considering) and found two alerts, but no bugs visually confirmed.

    Now, their house is pretty cluttered, and the handler said one bedroom was hard to inspect because of that,( toys around, two bunkbeds, etc.) which makes sense. Well, after the team left, I crawled around that room with a flashlight and roll of tape, and found a live 2nd or 3rd instar nymph right on a door frame, as well as two dead adults, and I didn't even check the bedframes.

    So, I have trouble trusting that k9 team/scenario, after two times of missed bugs. Blatant missed bugs, in my opinion. I make allowances for the 'not 100% accuracy' proviso...and for the 'clutter' proviso...but still, very frustrating.

    I know that it is ultimately the house owner's responsibility to rely on his/her own inspections, but if he hadn't had a k9 clear, he would have treated much earlier, and perhaps not spread them throughout the house, including the bedroom one floor down where they now are. It's alot of money down the drain, and calls into question the inspections in my own home, and my parents' house, too. And, now he's facing hugely expensive treatment with multiple children, and an old house.

    It's tiring, trying to figure out whom to trust. I'm grateful for this forum.
    ~Grateful for Help


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