Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Bed bug pest control firms (PCOs), Bed bug k9s, etc.

Do I treat immediately after a K9 'positive' even with no visual evidence?

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  1. bugoff63

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 9:34:28
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    A few days ago I posted because my boyfriend had started getting strange bites (in a row, the sort of 'breakfast lunch dinner' kind) in bed, while I was not having any (or just do not react). We found an insect in bed and took it to a reputable PCO recc'd by our landlord (on orchard st in nyc...) and for free they identified the bug we found as a grain beetle, but recc'd we get a dog through to inspect since my boyfriend was being bit by SOMETHING.

    So we paid the $350 for the dog -- meanwhile we definitely found a flea in the house the other day, which was obviously a flea (jumping etc) so my boyfriend thought perhaps we had fleas. Then the dog came this morning, and alerted to a few spots on the box spring as well as to a pile of boxes next to the bedstand on my boyfriend's side of the bed.

    I am absolutely unable to find ANY visual proof at all of this, though obviously I'm not a pro. Though our bed is all white and our apartment extremely uncluttered... I examined the table and boxes and the whole box spring with bright light and a magnifying glass, everything looks fine to me. The dog handler seemed extremely knoweldgeable though and the company has a ton of certifications etc -- and didn't seem pushy about getting me to treat with them, so I'd like to think they're trustworthy. I jsut don't know what to do!

    These things are obviously already starting to get quite expensive -- do we just pay for treatment (which I understand may be another $800 or so?) Do we pay for another inspection from another K9 or PCO, or buy some monitors (But what if the problem gets worse? but what if there is no problem?)

    I am completely lost as to what to do...

    [admin note: skip to here for the success story]

  2. paulaw0919

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 10:17:00
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    If the company is truly experts on bed bugs and detection...the K9 has led them to the area. They need to search those areas for concrete evidence. period. I would call them back, talk to management of that company and demand they come back for another inspection followed by a very thorough search of where the k9 alerts to. If they refuse to do so, that team was unforunately a waste of your money, imo.

    It's possible there are bed bugs, yes. But it's also very possible for fleas, especially since you found one. The inspection company needs to find a bed bug, or fecal matter or a cast skin to confirm an infestation is there. If the dog hit in three different areas, for an expert, they should be able to find evidence of the sort.

  3. soscared

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 10:20:45
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    Did the dog handler search also?
    I would not treat until you see evidence. I would be very vigilant and keep searching about once a week, but try to live normally the rest of the week. What I am saying is what is always advised on this website but when this first happened to me, I hadn't done enough research yet, and got treated without any evidence. Six times. But my "bites" persisted. Unless you know what it is causing the bites, the treatment will most likely be ineffective, and your life will feel like hell.
    I am sure we did have them, and our PCO was good. However, I do wish I insisted on them finding the bugs.

  4. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 10:25:32
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    I'm with PaulaW on this one.

    Bed bug infestations *can* be hard to detect in the early stages, so it's possible that the dog alerted to something.

    However good dog/handler teams follow each dog alert with a search by the handler to find visual confirmation of the presence of bed bugs. While good dog handler teams are very accurate, no dog/handler team is 100%, and for me and many others the best way to tell if a team is good or not is that each alert should be followed by a search by the human to confirm the dog's suspicion. (It may help to think of it this way: the dog's nose, which is way more sensitive than ours, is decreasing the number of places that the human will need to search for visual confirmation. Given how small bed bug eggs and nymphs are, if you had to search any whole apartment, even a minimalist one, that closely, it would take forever, but the dog's alerts should reduce the number of spots that need to be searched that thoroughly.)

    I would have a very hard time treating without visual evidence because the treatment for any insect pest is different depending on what pest it is, so you want to be 100% sure you've got the right one before you begin treatment. Without visual evidence, you don't have that yet. And if you don't have bed bugs and you go through a full cycle of treatment, but people in your home and still getting bitten, you're setting yourself up for a lot of anxiety about them not being gone--even if they were never there in the first place.

    Also, plug in flea traps might help you see if the one flea was a straggler or if there's proof that there are more.

    The three bites in a row pattern isn't as infallible an indicator of bed bugs as people think, so I'd definitely have the team back out and insist on follow up for visual signs any place the dog alerts.

  5. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 10:27:09
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    Hi,

    A dog hit is just that a dog hit. Bed bugs can only be confirmed through inspection to find faecal traces, cast skins or live samples.

    Without confirming things you should not treat because without confirming you don't know exactly what is causing the problem and therefore may never know how / when its resolved.

    I would suggest that you read up on monitoring systems and visual inspection and have a look.

    On the subject of things getting worse I can only offer the following advice. It takes about 14 days for any eggs to hatch and then another 2 months under optimal conditions for hatched bed bugs to be able to breed. Therefore unless someone is literally pouring them through your letter box its not going to get out of control without a few months passing.

    Stay calm and focus and remember a few days reading and understanding can save you a lot of wasted money and time.

    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
  6. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 10:37:46
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    And David just eloquently made the other point I meant to make. Except he gave solid numbers that I wouldn't have known off the tip of my mind. Go David.

    When you're dealing with a pest in the home, esp. one that gives us the creeps like this, you may think "Oh my God, if I don't treat it NOW, I'm going to be overrun, and it's going to cost more!"

    You have more time than you think before the infestation spreads throughout your home beyond whatever room or rooms it's already in.

    I know it doesn't feel like that now, but it would be a real shame to treat for the wrong pest because you felt like you had to make a decision and treat within a two day window when, as David's numbers points out, you have a little more time than that.

    I see far more people on the boards who regret treating without visual confirmation because it turned out that they didn't have bed bugs but instead had X other pest, than I do people who are like "Oh my God, I should have treated five days earlier than I did."

  7. bugoff63

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 10:37:52
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    Thank you so much so far everyone!

    The company -- m+m pest control -- does not do visual inspections with their dog handlers for god knows what reason (many others here have also commented on this) -- and i think i need to have another human out to inspect. i hope they don't charge me more for that, it's incredibly expensive already! I was under the impression that they checked visually too, but when the guy got here with the dog he said they just use the dog, since the dog will find infestations that are too small/deep for humans to detect visually and that the dog will often find things that no human will be able to.... this is so frustrating.

    Also -- this is hilarious and kind of embarrassing -- one of the things the dog kept 'alerting' to was the small box next to eh bed where my boyfriend and I, um, store condoms/personal bedroom type items like that. Does sex smell like bedbugs?!?! Or are bedbugs just nesting in our personal items?!?! SO HORRIFYING!!!!

    Soscared -- did you ever successfully find bedbugs in your apartment, or just get treated for them and after a while it finally 'worked'?

    Buggyinsocal -- what is this plugin flea trap you mentioned? Is it possible to have fleas even if we don't have any pets? Is it possible to have fleas AND bedbugs? This is maddenning, we literally have the cleanest, most minimalist apartment probably in this whole city and we are both SUCH neat/germ/bug freaks, it's unbelievable. How is this happening?!

  8. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 10:48:49
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    I'm not sure where to get them (my bed bug infestation was visible in that I was able to capture several bed bugs, so I didn't have a detection problem), but they're little traps designed to lure fleas so that you can confirm an infestation.

    Yes, you can get a flea problem without pets. You can also get a carpet beetle infestation without carpet. (Like bed bugs, many pests, it appears, are poorly named.)

    It's possible to have one or all three pests. The thing is, pests are not an indication that you're dirty or a bad house keeper. Sometimes they can be the result of neighbors or the construction of your building. Some do like kinds of dirt more than others, but sometimes conditions in the cleanest home invite pests.

    (Despite being from the northeast originally, I grew up in the Deep South. Everyone there did battle with roaches, no matter how clean we were. When we lived in apartments, the apartments had pest control people come out and spray every apartment regularly because someplace that warm and humid, without a winter to even discourage them, mean roaches flourished there. Many a morning, I'd walk into my high school and on the way to homeroom, we'd see a dead roach squished on the floor somewhere in one of the buildings. It just went with the territory. Now, in the northeast, roaches weren't nearly as common in multi-unit buildings, just as they aren't out here, which makes me glad.

    But out here in southern California, we have an epic ant problem. It didn't matter if I did dishes seconds after I was done eating and stored everything in air tight containers. I once found ants swarming in through the electrical socket to crawl all over my gym shoes. Apparently, something in sweat was attracting them. Another time, they'd swarmed in through the phone jack to toss the dead bodies of their compatriots into the water on the plate that I sat my cat's food bowl in the center of. That's right, my cat's food went in a bowl that went on a plate, and I filled the plate with water to discourage the ants. The ants used their dead to form a bridge to the bugs. Wily little buggers.)

    My points are these:

    1. While searching for bed bugs, you may find that we live with more insect and arachnid life than you thought. This isn't necessarily a sign that your apartment or city is any less clean than you thought it was; it's just the reality of living in the area you live in.

    2. You want a total confirmation of exactly what pest or pests you're dealing with before you treat to make the treatment as effective as possible and to make it easier for you to believe that the ordeal is over when treatment ends.

    People who've used them can probably confirm this, but I think you're looking for something like this.

  9. LVK9

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 10:55:05
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    As others have mentioned the handler has to do a visual search of the alerted areas. When a team shows up and before you pay ask to see their flashlight and hand lens. If they can not produce these items I would think twice about letting them proceed with the inspection. Will the handler always be able to find evidence maybe not, but they will never find evidence if they never look for it.

  10. soscared

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 11:03:45
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    No, we still have not found anything. I continue to be vigilant and to take precautions when visiting people's homes (run things through Packtite and dryer). I have to admit also that I run things through Packtite and dryer when i RETURN from people's homes bc this experience has made me insane.
    We have found no fecal, skins, or live bugs. We did get skin markings of several different kinds that we thought were bites. My baby and I did, whereas my husband no. I still am not sure what happened/is happening, I do continue to occasionally get skin markings, and I just hope they are not bedbugs bites. I have decided to let it go and keep inspecting. Eventually if we have them, we'll find something. And then we'll get thermal treatment. One thing I regret is getting 6 pesticide treatments while my baby was a crawler.

  11. bugoff63

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 11:20:39
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    ^^soscared this is basically my worry as well -- that "bites" will keep occurring but we will never find any visual evidence of anything. since we can't find anything but the dog did it's making me convinced that we have bedbugs and that they are some sort of invisible, elusive pest that can never be eradicated and that are just hiding out of sight everywhere i can't see... i am totally hallucinating that things are crawling on me 24/7 and i haven't even been bitten (or am not reacting to them) hahaaha.

    it's just so much money... the dog/PCO company says that they strongly recc treatment after a positive k9 alert, but i'm skeptical, but at the same time i'm freaking out about leaving things untreated...i'm just so stressed out that it's difficult to think straight and decide on the most logical and economic course of action.

  12. bugoff63

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 11:37:30
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    Also, hot damn, the company is asking $1,970 for treatment... not sure if it's worth that without even knowing for sure it's bedbugs... they say the dog is 98% accurate and a human looking would only be 40% accurate, but damn, that's a LOT of money....

  13. NewBlood

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 11:43:36
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    Bugoff63,

    Like soscared I too am receiving 'marks' and have been since I was treated months ago. I too had positive dog alerts but no evidence of bed bugs - no stains, eggs, bugs or casings. I was treated and the dog brought through without any alerts. The 'bites' have not stopped however, and now 7 months later I am still getting 'bit' no matter where I stay or where I am. It is possible that I had them and now am reacting to something else. It is possible that they are NOT gone and that I am spreading them to other places.

    I recommend as others have - FIND EVIDENCE of these bugs BEFORE you treat. I believe others have stated "show me the bed bugs!" I encourage you to also stand by that motto. A dog pointing to a spot with it's nose is NOT evidence of bed bugs - bed bugs are evidence of bed bugs, or eggs, or casings. If you don't find evidence and the treatment occurs and you end up still getting 'bites' like some of us here have been you'll be quite crazy because you'll never know what exactly is going on.

  14. NewBlood

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 11:47:37
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    bugoff63 - 6 minutes ago  » 
    Also, hot damn, the company is asking $1,970 for treatment... not sure if it's worth that without even knowing for sure it's bedbugs... they say the dog is 98% accurate and a human looking would only be 40% accurate, but damn, that's a LOT of money....

    And how would they know how accurate that dog is without looking for evidence after it alerts to something? It could be significantly LESS then 98%. Treatment costs usually depend on how big the home/apartment is and how widespread the infestation is as well. I do not run an extermination business but if that's the cost for a two bed room apartment I paid approximately $1,350 for mine all told, not including costs of bagging, laundry and dry cleaning. It's one of the reasons why so many of us sufferers go insane because of the high costs of treating this problem - however they are a really difficult pest to eliminate.

  15. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 11:49:30
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    Bugoff63,

    I would be very wary of a company that claims that its dogs are 98% accurate at the same time that it says that it never confirms those alerts visually.

    If you've had bed bugs for longer than a few days, and you're getting bitten by bed bugs that often, there will be visual signs somewhere. The crass fact of the matter is that if bed bugs are eating that well, they should be pooping that well, which means that there are fecal marks somewhere if it's bed bugs.

    If you personally can't find fecal marks, that's not surprising as you don't know the behavior of a bed bug that well, but a good pest management pro--esp. with the help of the dog--should be able to find signs of a bed bug. If he or she can't, I would look into other causes.

    Normally, I'm not this pushy about my advice, but it sounds to me like the particular PMP you hired for the dog inspection is a scam preying on stressed out, sleep deprived people. If you're determined to treat for bed bugs without any physical evidence, which I still wouldn't, I'd definitely look into getting a different PCO to do the treatment than the company with the dog.

    Just remember--when you've spent all that money and had multiple treatments, and you're still getting bites, think about how stressed out and frustrated you're going to be then.

  16. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 12:01:40
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    Hi,

    To help people understand this situation NoBugs and I produced this a few months ago:

    http://www.bedbugbeware.com/confirmingBBsignsfinal.pdf

    I would suggest that you fwd a copy to the dog team you used and ask them for comment.

    I have long said that dog teams should quote their own stats rather than a number which is dubious at best. I know a few people who quote that stat and have struggled to actually find the signs in infected hotel rooms.

    If its bed bugs you WILL find the signs somewhere if you look, its a simple as that.

    David

  17. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 12:53:18
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    There is absolutely no excuse for a NESDCA K9 team that does not even bother to check the locations of their alerts.

    The claim that their team is 98% accurate in the field is completely bogus.

    If they don't bother to perform any kind of visual inspection... How could they even provide a ballpark estimate of their dog's accuracy?

    They are quoting a U of Florida study that is seriously flawed... All of the dogs were handled by the master trainer instead of the dogs own handler.

    It is intellectually dishonest to try to extrapolate those findings to a dog in the field with a different handler.

    It is extremely disingenuous to make any claims about the accuracy of a NESDCA certified dog team in the field based on the results of a single published study... that was run under the supervision of a member of the NESDCA Advisory Board.

    Another U of Florida study found a 76% overall accuracy rate using their certified dog teams, but you won't see any mention of Dr. Oi's study on any of their websites... It was never published.

    It is like having a drug dog alert on the trunk of a car... then saying that there is no need to open the trunk or check for an illegal substance because a similar dog with his trainer was 98% accurate in the lab.

  18. bugoff63

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 12:55:32
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    ugh... it's just so hard to decide. I called a few other companies (including KQ here!), but all of them will charge around another $300 for a human inspection, though it seems their treatment rates are more reasonable... the company that brought the dog told me that it was 'pointless' to send a human out and that there was nothing a human could find that the dog couldn't find better, and then sent me an EXTREMELY complicated list of everything i'd need to do before their $2k treatment... basically telling me I need to live out of plastic bags for the next FOUR MONTHS and keep all my furniture wrapped in plastic as well. Horrifying.... I know it's an extreme problem, but is it really THAT extreme?! For something I can't even see/find evidence of?!

    Then again though everyone says that this company is REALLY effective and that they are expensive and difficult but that they always completely solve the problem, no complaints anywhere... I just don't know how to decide if we have a problem!!

  19. soscared

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 13:06:52
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    Of course there are no complaints, half the people who hire them probably don't even have bed bugs!
    Also, that is extremely expensive. I also paid around $1350. $2000 seems like a lot. Do you live in a huge house? How many times would they come out? What's the warranty like? They need to be willing to come out AT LEAST twice and provide a warranty of AT LEAST 60 days (for pesticide treatment, thermal is different).
    But, none of that applies to you, bc you shouldn't hire this company if they told you you have bed bugs but provided no evidence. It's like if you went to the doctor and he decided to put you on an aggressive and expensive course of treatment for some difficult disease, but provided no evidence that you have it.

  20. bugoff63

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    Tue Apr 27 2010 13:19:15
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    we live in a 900 sq foot loft apartment -- so just one giant, sunny room, with a small space closed off as a bathroom -- in downtown manhattan, it is a new construction and a very open/minimalist space, we only moved here 6 months ago and have very little furniture. the company is located a block away and was recc'd by our landlord and several users on this board, though our landlord has not yet said if she will pay for the treatment. there is only one other residential unit in the building so i think they can still legally "blame" us and make us pay for it.

    they perform 2 treatments over a 2 week period and have an extensive (though conditional) guarantee -- they give you a very very long list of things you need to do and as long as you follow all those rules, they will re-treat you free within a 3-month period until you are satistifed, or so they say. this all sounds great and the people there are so nice and punctual and friendly and seem very smart, but $1950 seems so steep, especially after i already paid $350 for the dog to smell around for 20 minutes, and also considering how much it is going to cost to buy all this storage for everything i own (literally, everything in the apartment must be steam-cleaned and put in airtight storage, and they recc' leaving it that way for months)....

  21. soscared

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 13:29:15
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    Do *you* have to steam clean everything in apt? Do they make you buy a steamer in order for the warranty to be valid? Yes, that would work, but it also leaves a lot of work and expense to you. It basically leaves you to do a lot of the work. What do *they* steam and treat?
    I am no expert, btw. I am just sharing my opinions, which are based on my experience with my PCO and with another one who I priced but wound up not using, and also on reading this website obsessively for months.

  22. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 14:05:05
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    Bugoff63,

    See that post from Doug up there? He runs one of the places in the US that trains bed bug detection dogs. As a result, if he were to have a bias about dogs, he'd be inclined to tell you that the dogs are more accurate than they are (which I'm not saying he does. I'm saying that when you're evaluating whether someone is biased or not, if anything, his background would make him *more* inclined to talk up the success rate of the dogs, right?)

    If he's telling you that the whole 98% rate stat is bogus, it's really bogus.

    I would listen to him if I were you.

  23. NewBlood

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 14:13:02
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    {quote]they perform 2 treatments over a 2 week period and have an extensive (though conditional) guarantee -- they give you a very very long list of things you need to do and as long as you follow all those rules, they will re-treat you free within a 3-month period until you are satistifed, or so they say. this all sounds great and the people there are so nice and punctual and friendly and seem very smart, but $1950 seems so steep, especially after i already paid $350 for the dog to smell around for 20 minutes, and also considering how much it is going to cost to buy all this storage for everything i own (literally, everything in the apartment must be steam-cleaned and put in airtight storage, and they recc' leaving it that way for months)....[/quote]

    Hrm.. I don't like the sound of that company - if you miss a single egg during your steaming or some bugs manage to survive because you didn't get them and you've sealed that stuff away for some months you'll just reintroduce them to your home when you unpack them - long after the warranty is over and then you do it all over again (they can live a long time if they can't find a host). I can understand removing the items so they can treat surfaces and whatnot - but leaving them bagged makes no sense to me because you WANT the bugs to cross the chemical when they come to you and die - you don't want them safely tucked away in your belongings and away from the chemicals placed to kill them all.

    You seem to be in NYC? I think that's 'KillerQueen's' territory (a PCO that posts here) and while I have not used him (he is too far away) I've heard others praise his dedication to eradicating these bugs. I think his company is called 'boot a pest' or something like that. Perhaps calling him up and asking him for an inspection may be in order?

    Lastly - if you suspect fleas you could buy a flea trap. I think they're like $15.00 or so and you'd be able to rule out these pests as the culprit - who knows, it may be the fleas! I'd kill someone for fleas!

  24. BBcoukHome

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 14:21:22
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    Golden rule is confirm first then treat.

    If in doubt repeat rule above.

    Until you confirm that it is bed bugs worrying about treatment options and methods really is a mute point and that energy could be better used in detection and confirmation.

    David

    PS those who are regular readers will appreciate that I am being extremely condensed here because the message is that clear and simple.

  25. bugoff63

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 14:27:13
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    kq's got a voicemail from me waiting on his phone for whenever he gets a chance i spoke to a very nice woman at his company today who said he had some personal things to take care of but should be in touch soon. i've called a few companies and just want to shop around and get a few more professional opinions... i'm already regretting that we paid for the dog service because while it sounded so trustworthy at first, now it's starting to seem less than perfect and i'm concerned about more unecessary costs... and if it's true that the problem isn't going to explode in 3 days or so, well, so be it.

    i think for now we are just going to hang tight... i feel very uneasy about all this and it's disturbing to feel that people are taking advantage of my sleep-deprived stressed-out self... on the other hand, if i actually had a ton of bugs i was seeing around, i'd be really psyched about how fast and thorough they seem to be, but it just doesn't seem necessary to spend that moeny and time so immediately... it just seems so odd that nobody is seeing any evidence of bedbugs anywhere and i don't want to pay $1950 to fill my apartment with poison that isn't 100% necessary...

    i'm just concerned now about bringing bedbugs back to my place, if there ARE bedbugs here... boyfriend wants me out of here for the time being while he decides, so it's back to my apartment.... i'm assuming if i shower before i leave and immediately ziplock my clothes/purse upon arrival to my apartment, and then shower again, chances are i'll be okay? i'll stick my shoes and whatnot in the freezer too.... seems like if there is an infestation here it must be quite small, or so i'm hoping...

  26. bugoff63

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 14:29:27
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    BBcoukHome -- i think my issue here is that i was quite confused by the dog company telling me the bugs WERE confirmed for sure just by the dog, and my suspicion (and others support) that this was not 100% the case.... while i've been sleep-deprived and freaking out, ultimately you guys are probably right and that it's better to invest another 48 hours in diagnosing the problem before emptying my bank account on these treatments without thought.... guhhh. still so stressful, i'm glad i'm not the only one!!

  27. BBcoukHome

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Apr 27 2010 15:36:41
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    Hi,

    I don't usually pull rank on this one but in this case I will make an exception.

    The ONLY way to confirm an infestation of bed bugs is to find one of the following:

    • Live samples
    • Cast skins
    • Faecal traces

    If anyone EVER tell you otherwise please point them in my direction as I will be more than happy to point out the error of their ways in no uncertain terms. If they then wish to doubt my understanding of the problem and experience in dealing with it I will happily show them my company records to illustrate that with 15,000 cleared infestations and the dubious honour of being the worlds first dedicated full time bed bug exterminator since Tiffin and Sons (1750's through 1940's) they may want to re think.

    Please stop to confirm things before you go ahead and look any further into treatment plans and options, it is simply a waste of time worrying and as I have already said unless someone is feeding bed bugs through your letter box the problem NEVER explodes over night and certainly by the time someone gets 20+ bites if its bed bugs evidence will be visually confirmable if someone looks in enough detail.

    David

  28. nervousaboutbedbugs

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    Tue Apr 27 2010 19:32:43
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    Bugoff - I'm another example of someone that treated based solely on a dog alert. I don't know if the dog was right or wrong. What I do know is we now have an empty bank account and continue to worry daily about every little bite or red mark we see on our kids.

    Treating without knowing for sure what is going on will not provide you peace of mind. Only truly knowing what you are battling and using appropriate measures will.

    Good luck.

  29. DougSummersMS

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    Tue Apr 27 2010 23:15:26
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    Bugoff63

    I am not qualified to provide advice on NYC laws, but I am not sure that the landlord can legally blame you for the infestation based on your proximity to other occupied units.

    I would urge you to investigate further into the specific laws, regulations and contracts that apply to your situation. The FAQs would be a good place to start. Also be sure to read your lease or bylaws carefully to help determine who is responsible for the cost of pest control services.

    If you found a flea in the unit... I would suspect that you may have already have identified a likely suspect for the bite marks that have been observed.

    As David mentioned previously... you might want to look into monitoring devices to see if you can capture a specimen to confirm the K9 alerts.

    I prefer the term "unproductive alert" when there is a K9 alert that cannot be verified with physical evidence of live bed bug activity.

    It is possible to have a valid alert that cannot be readily confirmed for a variety of reasons, but in my opinion there is no excuse for failing to perform a visual inspection for physical evidence after the K9 team has identified specific locations.

    The K9 team is a screening tool... A K9 alert is not a substitute for the visual identification of a pest.

    Identification of the pest is an essential step in any legitimate IPM program... Otherwise we have the K9 making treatment decisions that should be made by the PCO based on a holistic look at all of the evidence based on training, experience and statutory requirements

    As I have stated in previous comments... If a K9 inspection company tells a prospective client that it is not necessary to identify the source of their dog teams alerts.... Hang up the phone and call another company.

    It is unfortunate that companies misrepresent the results of a scientific study to make specific claims about the accuracy of their K9 teams in the field for marketing purposes.

  30. loubugs

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    Wed Apr 28 2010 5:21:57
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    I have to echo much of what David, Doug and many others have said regarding K9 detection. The positive alert is to an odor, not necessarily to a live bed bug, but could be fecal material, dead bug, shed skin OR SOMETHING ELSE still unknown. Technically, the handler (& trainer, for that matter) should not be training dogs on mixtures of live, dead, sheds, etc because unless the dog can tell you what odors it is actually alerting to, you really don't know. Canine behavior and training time amassed between the dog and the handler helps. Obviously, live bed bug alerts are really what you want if bites are being received, but bugs are not being seen. Rewarding the dog for a positive alert only reinforces errors in the dog if it really made a mistake and you never perform a visual verification to see this. The dog may be 98% accurate, but that was to hides placed by the investigator and that means 2% of the time, the dog missed the actual bed bugs left in the test arena. Another post on a different subject on this forum related a story about placing bugs in a sealed plastic bag and this then in a closed drawer of clothes in a dresser (tell me if I'm wrong). The dog alerted to one drawer placement, but didn't alert when hide was placed in another closed drawer, but did alert when the drawer was opened 2 inches. I've seen dogs alert to a hide in furniture and within a few seconds when the hide was replaced with an empty hide, ignore that spot, but alert to the first hide again when placed in another piece of furniture within a few minutes time. We didn't have to wait X amount of time for the odor to build up and also there was no residual odor left after having removed the first bed bug hide. Basically, to stop me from rambling on, if you need the services of K9 bed bug detection, please ask the company if they perform visual detection after positive alerts, if not simply do not hire them. If they say yes when you call them and don't bother when they are in your home, simply do not pay them. You can tell them I said so. Trainers have told me that they tell their students (handlers) to perform visual verifications. Unless they tell me one thing and the students another..... I've had many discussions with handlers (the dogs don't talk to me in a language I understand, although body language is important!) on this subject, too. Some still do not bother with visual verification. Obviously visual verification does not mean destructive sampling, cutting open mattresses, taking apart furniture & equipment and not being able to put them back together, but using a flashlight, opening drawers, taking drawers out of cabinets, lifting mattresses (a little), looking into suitcases, briefcases, on and behind pictures, etc. should be done. More simple examples could be listed. Unfortunately, I've met handlers who don't really know what to look for because they have never been properly taught in the first place and only take what the dog tells them to be true!

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  31. LVK9

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Apr 28 2010 8:41:47
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    Lou, the point of the exercise you mentioned above was to see if a canine would scent through a sealed Ziploc bag. The deeper the hide the longer the hide would need to sit before the scent becomes available to the canine. The first time around the hide sat for a little over 5 hours and in that time frame the scent was available through a closed draw. The second time around the hide sat for 3 hours and was undetected until the draw was opened slightly. This was only done as an experiment, because during a real inspection I open all the draws and have my canine inspect the contents.

    When you see demonstrations of a canine ability by someone placing a hides, they typically hide them in couch / chair cushions or in a closed draw but placed up front towards the opening. By doing this the scent is quickly available to the canine and since the hide only needs to be in place for a few minutes any lingering scent dissipates quickly.

  32. djames1921

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    Wed Apr 28 2010 9:54:53
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    Reading through all this I will only reinforce what most have said. Show me the bedbugs or signs of them. I think the most obvious answer is you are getting bit by something and you found a flea. 2+2 equals 4.

  33. Nobugsonme

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    Wed Apr 28 2010 12:31:01
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    And for newbites considering a k9, please read our FAQ on hiring a bed bug sniffing dog team.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  34. OhTheBugs

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    Wed Apr 28 2010 15:12:19
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    I thought I'd add my interesting scenario in here - to see the various opinions.

    Over the last year I've had 4 K9 inspections in my 2bed house in Toronto. I've used two different companies.
    The first company inspected and identified 4 places over two rooms - they could find no physical evidence however.

    I then had a different company come in on three occasions over the course of 6 months. They identified bedbugs in every room in my house (including the garage and basement) - however they were again unable to find physical evidence during any of the three visits. I should mention that each time the dog came, it identified the same spots!!!

    Any thoughts?!?!

  35. KillerQueen

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    Wed Apr 28 2010 15:59:30
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    OhTheBugs - 46 minutes ago  » 
    Any thoughts?!?!

    Yeah .. when I return from dinner =)

  36. DougSummersMS

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    Wed Apr 28 2010 16:52:47
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    OTtheBugs

    At least we are now talking about companies that perform visual inspections.

    Can you provide additional details about the locations and the reason for multiple inspections.

    Were the inspections performed because of unexplained skin eruptions that resemble bites.

    Did the companies perform a thorough search in the identified locations?

    Given the time frame, I would expect that we would have some obvious physical evidence available if you were dealing with a bed bug infestation.

    Can you provide any details on any treatments that were applied and whether you were able to identify any other potential sources for the unexplained bite activity?

    I will send my contact info in a PM, if you would like to discuss the specifics of your situation in depth on the phone.

  37. OhTheBugs

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    Wed Apr 28 2010 16:59:10
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    I found the bed bugs in mid 2008 - 100s on the box spring, so I know there was a real problem.
    I'd love to chat on the phone - PM me your info and a good time to call.
    Thanks

  38. KillerQueen

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    Wed Apr 28 2010 21:45:18
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    Should be made a sticky! I wrote this for an article ... Let the flames begin!

    I’ll write this as my “opinion” because many people in the K9 industry will disagree with what I see on a daily basis doing inspections for clients who are told they have bed bugs after a K9 inspection here in NY.

    I’m a Bed Bug treatment specialist; meaning I specialize in the detection and eradication of Bed Bugs within a structure. As far as I know I’m the only company in the US that deals strictly with Bed Bugs. The term “specialist” or “expert” is used freely throughout the industry and while there are companies that do great work eradicating Bed Bugs, there are also many who advertise their services as experts and fall short of the self proclaimed title.
    Most companies average 5-20% of their business with regard to Bed Bugs. My business is 100% dedicated to the inspection and treatment of Bed Bugs.

    The information I share with you regarding K9 detection is a direct result of my observations following behind many different companies, K9 teams, and communication with clients who have used this type of detection process trying to confirm or deny a Bed Bug infestation.

    While K9’s COULD play a major roll detecting low level infestations or for detecting bugs far beyond the sight of a human, there are many things the public doesn’t know because of advertising practices and the media doesn’t touch on a few simple facts. And this includes all k9 teams — “certified” or not.

    First let’s cover what everyone reports or thinks in terms of accuracy.

    It’s said that "K9’s are 95-98% accurate.” According to whom and for how long? I’m told when a dog undergoes training to become a scent detection K9 for Bed Bugs they go through some 400 to 600 hours of training by a master trainer with years of experience (I’m guessing 20 years or more training dogs). This dog is then tested with the same handler who just worked 600 hours teaching this dog to alert to Bed Bugs. You have to understand there is a critical relationship between the trainer and dog during this accuracy test. Again the trainer is an expert and the person who is purchasing the dog to inspect a client’s home is not.

    I’m told the investment is around $8,700 — $9,500 for the dog including the training that is necessary to become a handler. I say the word “training” loosely because I’m told during the 40 hour week you not only learn how to handle the dog but you also learn how to run your new business doing sales, contracts, marketing, etc. I just don’t know how much time is actually dedicated to learning how to handle the dog within these 40 hours.

    My point is the K9 that is field tested with the handler, a master trainer, or a person who trains dogs for a living undergoes these field tests to come up with the accuracy claims we all read about. These numbers don’t seem to add up with the inspections I perform beyond many K9 teams in the NY area. You see when you put a K9 into the hands of somebody with less than a week of training you’re going to have different accuracy ratings. I estimate the numbers to be around 50% accurate. While it’s said a false positive (an alert to something other than a Bed Bug) is more likely to happen then a false negative, nonetheless both are a problem when you’re paying for a premium service.

    The purpose of a K9 inspection is to confirm the presence of Bed Bugs. The dog is only a tool to provide the handler a defined search area. The K9 alert alone is not a positive identifier for Bed Bugs. The K9 is used to shorten the search time of a human or to find harborage areas that one might miss during a typical visual inspection. All too often people who hire these K9 teams tell me the handler never looked for evidence. Yet the handler tells them the dog is 95% accurate and there are Bed Bugs in the location the dog “hit” on.

    If you have read the glowing reviews then the K9 team seems to be the right choice for inspection. If you are calling in a K9 team for an inspection, I’m guessing you have what you think are Bed Bug bites. If this K9 alerts in areas of your home then you think for sure you have a Bed Bug problem. This team just validated your thoughts without proof of an infestation and that’s just wrong!

    The problem is I have seen people with lice, fleas, mosquitoes, biting gnats, mites, hives, dermatitis, folliclitis, skin cancer as well as clients wearing bras known to have too much formaldehyde in them. This can cause people to break out in rashes and was reported in the news about two years ago. I’ll quote Michael Potter from the University of Kentucky, “Show me the bugs”. That is what you should say before you show them the money for the inspection. Companies may tell you over the phone they confirm all the “hits” but this is not always true once they show up. Unfortunately, its buyer beware out there so be careful and remember it should always come back to visual inspection to confirm anything.

    How a dog becomes a scent detection K9.

    This is where I have a big problem and why I feel the system is prone to false positives. These dogs undergo a lot of training learning to detect Bed Bugs. But what many people don’t know is that while they learn to do this, they are also exposed to the scent of other insects and are trained to decipher the differences. Once a dog learns the scent of a Bed Bug they are rewarded with food. Now for the rest of this dog’s life or for as long as it’s a working dog it will need to find bugs to eat. You will never put a bowl of food down for this dog ever again.This means even when the handler is not working he will need to hide bugs in his own home in order to keep the dog fed daily.

    Now I’m not saying a dog can’t find bugs once it learns to detect them. What I’m saying is that the food reward is not the way to go. The problem is if a handler rewards a dog without confirming the “hit” the handler doesn’t know what the reward was for. And let’s face it, a dog will always try and see who the boss is and how far it can get away with something. So if a dog “hits” on a carpet beetle, a cockroach, spider beetle or any other common insect and you feed for this alert, you just crossed trained your dog to alert to other insects. And trust me they will alert again when they smell them in another person’s home to receive food.
    I have inspected right behind K9’s that have alerted to simple inspection areas but still the handler didn’t even attempt to confirm the “hit”. After my close inspection I have found other insects hiding in these locations and often never find a trace of Bed Bugs.

    Bed Bugs can’t be in your home biting you without leaving behind evidence. Yes they hide well but that is why it can take an hour or more to conduct an inspection. Humans are not 100% either but I’ll be damned if I don’t give it 100% of everything I have to get to the bottom of the problem. Don’t be fooled by the handler who demonstrates how the dog finds a vial of bugs he places in your home. Hide a bunch of bugs in a jar and I’ll find them in under 10 minutes as well.

    And lastly here is why I don’t think the dog is right for the job.

    Let’s say I listen to those who have trained me (40 hours) to handle my K9. I don’t reward my dog with food until I inspect the area and find the Bed Bug my dog is alerting to. Do you have any idea how long it takes to inspect a box spring or platform bed properly? Imagine going inch by inch along the top and bottom piping around a box spring and then looking behind the four plastic bumper guards at the corners. Remember we are looking for something that could be as little as 1mm. After you clear these areas with no evidence you have to pull off the batting on the underside of the box spring. You have to carefully pull through the staples inch by inch to inspect behind the batting. Then lifting the fabric up that is stapled to the wooden frame inch by inch looking for a very small insect or evidence of their existence. After that, you have all the wood inside to look at, the front and back using mirrors and flashlights to look behind them. All wood knots, staple and screw holes, cracks and crevices and any ninety degree angles (where two pieces of wood join together) have to be inspected as well. This takes me 20 to 30 minutes depending on bed size.

    So if I was using a K9 to define a search area and my dog hits on an area such as a box spring, my 40 hours of training tells me not to reward the dog until I confirm the hit right? Well, imagine going through the process I mentioned above inspecting a box spring for 30 minutes. If I find a Bed Bug some 20 minutes into my inspection you’re telling me the dog can now get the food reward and know why it was just fed? The K9 did its job 20 minutes ago so I find this hard to believe. And why is it that other K9’s that do scent detection don’t have a food based reward? Most dogs I see are given praise by the handler or play time with their favorite toy. Give me a K9 that is not driven by food or walked around on a leash but rather free to explore inside a home and is looking to find what makes his or her handler happy. That’s what dogs always look to do anyway, please their owners.

    Also be careful as I’ve heard some handlers say they go back and conduct the visual inspection once the dog is finished with the search. But if you already fed the dog, crated it, and then looked, it’s too late because you have already rewarded the dog for something that might not be a Bed Bug.

    I guess I can finish here because I think my point is clear that it all comes back to visual inspection and that can only be done by a human. Bed Bug treatments are expensive both emotionally and financially so make sure you’re fighting the right problem before anything.

    John Furman
    BOOT A PEST Inc.

  39. bugoff63

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    Wed Apr 28 2010 23:47:10
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    KillerQueen, if it wasn't obvious already I was the lady who was freaking out on the phone with you for like an hour last night, thank you again so much for all your help it was a big reassurance to talk to someone who seemed calm and sane and not immediately asking me for $2k with no evidence.... appreciated that SO much.

    My boyfriend and I have purchased a flea trap and a bedbug monitor and are taking other precautions to make sure that we do not spread anything to my apartment/his workplace etc, and are waiting a week or two before making our final decision on what to do...

    I was initially very satistfied with the PCO who sent the dog -- the people seemed incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, compassionate, and sane, and had I actually found legit bedbugs I would have been thrilled with how aggressive and responsive they were. When I scheduled the appt, they told me they could send at human that day, or a dog and human the next day, and I was very much under the impression that the "dog +human" search was going to be more exhaustive than the "human only" search... and I was extremely frustrated when this was not the case.

    The dog handler ran the dog through the apt once and it found nothing, and he said he might be 'distracted' by some smells in the apt, so then he hid some bedbug vials in the sofa etc. The dog found those, and after finding those (and being fed) he alerted to a table next to the bed. I asked the dog handler if he could check the table to see if there were signs of bedbugs -- it just seemed odd the way it all happened, though I know it COULD be 100% accurate, I just wanted more proof -- but the dog handler (who was an incredibly sweet and friendly and compassionate man and definitely meant well!) told me he was not qualified to actually search for bugs and that I had to call the PCO for that, and seemed surprised that I'd even asked him that. He was very sweet about it all, but it was just not what I had expected.

    When I called the company to complain they told me it was "pointless" to have a human search because the dog was 98% accurate and a human could only be 40%... except how can a dog be 98% accurate if they refuse to ever check to see how accurate it actually is, and if the dog handler is some kind of third party hired by the PCO? I just wanted to be more than 100% certain if I was going to give them $2k they told me I needed for "immediate treatment" on top of the $350 I already had just paid for the "inspection"...

    I know they meant well but it just came off so strange and I felt so uncomfortable relying only on the dog when I'd been under the impression that the dog was a tool to aid a visual search... I felt like I'd gone to a doctor and said I had headaches, and they told me I had a brain tumor, and when I asked for an MRI they told me to STFU and that a biopsy/MRI was unnecessary and I just had to immediately go ahead with complex neurosurgery. If I do end up having bedbugs, well then I'm a fool for mistrusting it -- but I think it would be so much worse to shell out another $2k (which I don't have! I lost my job when my company downsized a month ago! I can't do that!) with no proof...

    I'm sure I'll be here posting more updates though with everything that's going on... lord knows I'm freaking out 24/7 enough as is

    Thanks again to everyone who helped here....

  40. DougSummersMS

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    Thu Apr 29 2010 1:42:39
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    John,

    I agree with many of your observations.

    K9 teams that fail to perform a visual search in the locations of their alerts are prone to creating the secondary conditioning problem that you have described.

    This problem is easily corrected, if the handler follows the correct protocol for proper maintenance training to ensure their teams accuracy in the field.

    I disagree strongly with your view that food reward is the primary issue with false alerts or that working the dog off lead is any guarantee the the results will be more accurate.

    Personally, I use a spring loaded leash that allows my dog to roam like an off lead dog.

    Dogs that are rewarded with praise or toy play are prone to the same secondary conditioning issues as a food reward trained dog, if the handler does not perform the proper quality control procedures like visual inspections in the locations that are identified during the search.

    Feeding, and praising the K9 immediately after the alert is the correct approach.

    The weak link is the handler rather than the dog.

    Consumers tend to focus on the dog when we really need to be focused on the handler's practices.

    It isn't a question of good dog vs bad... rather the key issue should be good handling practices vs poor handling practices.

    The proper solution is to provide continuing education for the handler. We provide support for our teams in the field in addition to the training that we provide at our facility.

    We are developing an advanced handler class for experienced teams that wish to improve their proficiency in the field.

    There is no good substitute for actual field experience... Everyone has to start somewhere... It takes ten years in the field to produce a handler with a decade of experience.

  41. DougSummersMS

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    Thu Apr 29 2010 2:16:57
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    I asked the dog handler if he could check the table to see if there were signs of bedbugs -- it just seemed odd the way it all happened, though I know it COULD be 100% accurate, I just wanted more proof -- but the dog handler (who was an incredibly sweet and friendly and compassionate man and definitely meant well!) told me he was not qualified to actually search for bugs and that I had to call the PCO for that, and seemed surprised that I'd even asked him that.

    I would not recommend hiring an inspector that is not "qualified to search for (bed) bugs"

    Any professional that charges money to provide a bed bug inspection should be qualified to search for and identify the targeted insect or they really should find another profession.

  42. buggyinsocal

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    Thu Apr 29 2010 11:14:07
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    bugoff63

    Just one passing thought . . .

    You said in a post above that you felt bad about making a bad decision about the PCO that you brought in.

    Don't. Don't beat yourself up over this.

    Remember that if you're like most people, either you didn't know that bed bugs were anything other than something in a nursery rhyme or you knew they existed but knew next to nothing about finding and treating them before this scare, right?

    That's true of all of us.

    Once you either find bed bugs or suspect them, there's an intense learning period, during which you have to make sense out of a lot of really complicated information. No one is going to master all of that information overnight--esp. when he or she is in the sleep-deprived and super stressed out state that bed bugs create.

    I made some costly mistakes in dealing with bed bugs when I first discovered them too: I bought an expensive dry vapor steamer that I never once used in treating my bed bugs. While it's a nice cleaning tool, it's a rather more pricey one than I really could afford at that time.

    So, really. It's not you. It's why I get so angry about companies that say things like a dog is 98% accurate so we don't need to follow up with a visual inspection. Whether they're doing it simply for profit or they're just misinformed, they're preying on consumers who are scared, tired, freaked out,a and desperate to get these blood sucking vermin that the consumer has just discovered can be really tough to eradicate out of their homes.

  43. KillerQueen

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    Thu Apr 29 2010 23:21:01
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    You're welcome bugoff63!

    Got the message tonight ... I'll talk with you soon.

  44. bugoff63

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    Fri Apr 30 2010 9:18:09
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    Buggy -- thank you for the reassurance there... while living in NYC means I don't go a week without hearing about bedbugs I definitely had no idea of "what actually to do and how to behave if we suspect we have them"... it's amazing how stressful even suspecting you have them can be, I can't imagine what it must be like having failed treatments etc etc...

    KQ -- haha, sorry for calling so late -- my boyfriend was bugging out (no pun intended) after our landlord gave him a lot of bullshit and just really wants to know what's going on for sure ASAP... thanks so much!!

  45. loubugs

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    Fri Apr 30 2010 12:09:28
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    I really wish that all the dog/handler teams would visually verify. I think all know my thoughts by now. I know that M&M used to perform searches -- they shouldn't have changed their protocol.

  46. bugoff63

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    Sat May 22 2010 17:07:17
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    I just wanted to check in here again to finish my story...

    John Furman came out and inspected the bed and apartment and found no evidence of bugs, but did find a dead flea and a spider or something. We also bought Bedbug Beacon, which caught nothing. Neither my boyfriend nor I have had bites or skin irritations of any sort for the past three weeks, and I think it's safe to say that we actually did NOT have a bedbug problem and that the bites he had were from a flea or a mosquito or something.

    I am VERY glad we did not pay the epic amount of money for a totally unecessary treatment -- I know it's been said a billion times here already, but just wanted to underscore one more time for any other people in a similar situation that a K9 positive without visual inspection DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN YOU HAVE BEDBUGS.

    Thank you so much everyone here for your information and patience and expertise -- I can't imagine what a pain it would have been to both my bank account and lifestyle to have had to go through treatment for bedbugs when we actually had a rogue mosquito/flea.

  47. KillerQueen

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    Sun May 23 2010 23:14:11
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    Hello bugoff63,

    Thanks for the update. I'm glad I was able to help.

    Kind Regards, John

  48. NewBlood

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    Mon May 24 2010 6:04:19
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    Nice! Congrats bugoff63! See? No need to get yourself worked up until actual PROOF of these insects is found then and only then begin the expensive treatment. You're also now more educated about these insects then you were before (and assuming you remain in KQ's area you can call him back should you have another panic) and ready to take action should you actually get them.

    So get back out there and enjoy life just don't ride any public transportation unless you are wearing a plastic suit.

  49. ohmybugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 21 2010 1:45:52
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    Thanks for all the info about the use of dogs. It really has helped me tremendously.

  50. KillerQueen

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 21 2010 22:34:37
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    ohmybugs - 20 hours ago  » 
    Thanks for all the info about the use of dogs. It really has helped me tremendously.

    You're welcome ... Now if only the news would get it right!

  51. Doomed

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Jul 26 2010 15:23:58
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    If BugOff is still here, as I understand it, her boyfriend got bitten but she didn't. I don't know if her boyfriend continued to get bitten? If so, and this could be totally off base, is her boyfriend using any sort of medicine which can cause dependence, such as prescription sleep aids, or any benzodiazepine, or any opiate pain med? If so, maybe the bugs actually got hooked on his blood. I know this could be completely ridiculous, because it's not as if an insect has any sort of neurological chemistry comparable to a mammal's, but I've just been wondering about this in my own case. If a visitor came here and my bugs were actually addicted to my blood, and would leave the visitor alone after initial bites and not getting the same chemicals as in my blood - I'm wondering about it.

    But, if that were the case, I would imagine she would have gotten a few initial bites, before the bugs returned their focus to her boyfriend.

    Yes, I'm going nuts!

  52. headbugs

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Nov 1 2010 20:09:33
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    I am another person going insane without visual evidence EXCEPT there were tiny little blood spots the size of a pin head on my sheets and one "smear" on my pillow! Would another bug other than bedbugs do this?
    I have had full treatment (not in our bedroom but in rooms dogs detected) about 2 months ago. I have not been bitten until now.
    About 2.5 weeks ago had 3 bites staggered between elbow and wrist on Right arm. Then about 9 days after this bite episode got 3 clustered in very close range (all three in the size of say a quarter ) on my Right shoulder. 2 days later blood on the sheets as earlier described. We have ripped bed apart and NO visual evidence of ANY bugs! We have the bedbug covers on mattress and boxspring and have for over 4 weeks! What gives???????

    We are holding back to treat via information above and the fact that we are now broke from first treatment.

    Anyone have any ideas???? Can fleas cause blood on sheets?????? They found 1 tick while doing physical exam in our room but no bedbugs so we had at the advise of Pest Control BOMB OUR ENTIRE HOME for ticks, spiders whatever. That was in addition to the bedbug treatment!!!

    H E L P !!!!

  53. The Reluctant Entomologist

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Nov 1 2010 20:21:54
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    I recently posted, from personal experience, that flea "dirt," if you get it wet (sweat, etc.) will cause blood spots. (My cats are STILL leaving "salt and pepper" all over & I'm so happy! Fleas! Oh, how I love fleas! If I'm just in denial, I must say that denial's comfy). I don't know what's going on in your case, but I'm guessing from your post that you have pets that sleep on the bed too.

  54. headbugs

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Nov 1 2010 21:43:49
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    "I recently posted, from personal experience, that flea "dirt," if you get it wet (sweat, etc.) will cause blood spots. (My cats are STILL leaving "salt and pepper" all over & I'm so happy! Fleas! Oh, how I love fleas! If I'm just in denial, I must say that denial's comfy). I don't know what's going on in your case, but I'm guessing from your post that you have pets that sleep on the bed too."

    Thanks for the response............
    I do have a dog but she has NOT slept on the bed for about 5 weeks and we didn't have the problem in our room then. We have the bedbug covers on mattress and box spring. Do fleas have the same bite as bedbugs? Wouldn't the covers help us from ANY of these nasty bugs????

    Good grief cannot believe this nightmare. I see that I am far from alone in this war.

  55. pidju

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Apr 23 2015 13:00:15
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    The arguments in favour of not treating without visual evidence are perfectly rational and yet I still feel doubtful because bed bugs and any sign of their presence apart from bites have been so incredibly hard to find in my appartment although the infestation was quite severe. I did see some young ones 3 times but it was totally by chance. Of course I am no expert – still I searched for hours with magnifying glass and flashlight in all the places they are supposed to hide in, without ever finding any this way; the PCs never made a convincing identification; there were no skins or blood spots. Only once treatment had started did I find actual bugs and blood spots on the walls perhaps because the insects were fleeing the poison. It seems to me that getting visual evidence of bed bugs can be almost impossible. At the moment all the monitors and traps in my appartment are clean, I have one or two bites as always in summer but they are not like bed bug bites, nothing suspicious has happened for 3 years, and a dog called in for extra reassurance signals 3 places with bed bugs. I have not found a PC or a dog handler who does detailed searches. Perhaps it would be wiser to wait before treating but with my history I am really not confortable doing that.

  56. Richard56

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Apr 23 2015 13:47:13
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    First, thanks for bringing back a very good thread on Canine detection. Good reading top to bottom for anyone interested in the subject.

    You're not asking a question, but stating a conclusion. So if re-reading the thread doesn't convince you to get visual confirmation before treatment, then I doubt anything I, or anyone else here, can say will.

    That said, a few thoughts for others who may feel your situation may translate into theirs.

    You say:" Only once treatment had started did I find actual bugs and blood spots on the walls perhaps because the insects were fleeing the poison."

    So, yes, I agree on face value this would be compelling evidence to support your thesis that at least in your apartment bugs and their evidence are too difficult to find by humans.

    However, one possibility is that the "actual bugs" and "blood spots on the walls" were not bed bug related and mistakenly identified. We see this a lot here.

    Another possibility is that you had bed bugs all along, but the inspections and monitoring were not thorough and expert enough, regardless of your efforts.

    And lastly, there could be an undisclosed neighbor problem where the bugs retreated back into your apartment after the treatment.

    Or course, you could be correct. Anything is possible. But based on what I have learned on bed bug behavior, I'd probably go with one of the other mentioned possibilities.

    Richard

  57. potomaccanine

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Apr 24 2015 7:00:51
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    We are a dedicated scent detection company that conducts a detailed, in depth visual inspection before running a dog through and we always conduct a deeper visual on any area that a dog alerts.
    Unless the only way you can possibly have peace of mind is by treating, we always suggest not treating but monitoring the situation further. Why spread chemicals or spend money if you really might not need to?
    Feel free to PM me if you have further questions on what to look for in a canine detection company but the guidelines and suggestions on here are very good.
    Show me the bug. Show me the bug.

  58. pidju

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Apr 27 2015 4:35:04
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    Thanks for your answer. I understand your doubts and believe me I would be happy to think I never had bed bugs. We did wonder for a long time whether that was the problem. The bites were very specific and I did see some nymphs with a magnifying glass though was unable to catch them; now dogs may not be a 100% reliable point in this direction too. That is a lot of suspicious signs pointing to the one conclusion I am most afraid of. My problem is that I live in an appartment and must avoid at all costs contaminating the neighbours. In fact, the explanation for what is happening is probably the one mentionned by Richard56, that the bugs are elsewhere in the building and come and go from our appartment. This hypothesis will habe to be tested now as every other possibility has been dismissed, but it will be a thoroughly unpleasant process. And if any one knows of a company expert in the treatment of bed bugs in Switzerland, I would love to have their name.

  59. Richard56

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Apr 27 2015 8:27:21
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    Pidju: This hypothesis will habe to be tested now as every other possibility has been dismissed, but it will be a thoroughly unpleasant process. And if any one knows of a company expert in the treatment of bed bugs in Switzerland, I would love to have their name.
    ----------------
    Please let us know how things work out.

    You might want to start a new thread out finding a PCO in Switzerland. This is a very long thread and your request might be missed.

    Richard

  60. pidju

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun May 3 2015 10:33:03
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    I thank everyone who answered my posts. I really appreciate it and understand I am in no position to disagree. Mostly I am perplexed and frightened.

    The finality with which visual evidence is demanded for treatment still suprises me. Why would anyone want to take the risk to see the reproductive cycle start, or start again ? Is it because resistance to pesticide is becoming a problem ?

    Then, to explain my reaction, things are not simple where I am concerned, mostly because :
    - I cannot find a PCO over here who does such detailed inspections, I definitely would use one if I could, or bring one from abroad if I had the money
    - In the building where I live I must follow protocols that call for quick treatment if an infestation is supected.
    - When the problem began there were signs pointing to bed bugs though not as many as there could have been as I made mistakes that complicated the searches (threw away the bed too quickly, did not save or know how to capture very small insects). Nevertheless there was a (quick) bed bug identification made by a PCO while I was suffering a long serie of bites with all the characteristics considered typical of bed bugs over here (many bites grouped in a small area, sometimes in three, sometimes under watch armband, very itchy and long lasting, appearing regularly in the morning at a few days intervals, in winter with all windows closed). I saw very small insects at night on my camp bed sheet while I was being bitten, and I once saw moving small dots that exploded in a blob of blood when I tried to catch them. There was a blood trace on the floor where my mattress was. I also saw 2 insects looking extremely like bedbug nymphs and totally unlike fleas or mites through a magnifying glass (did my best to capture them but failed). Afterwards, when the problem returned, I only had the bites to go on. I used traps and monitors, but never again found an insect; PCO's made quick fruitless searches. I cannot hope to persuade you that some bed bug bites really feel to some people unlike any others, but it is what I experience. Therefore I have reasons both to think the bed bugs really were there, and to fear never finding the proof demanded by the experts.

    This is extremely frightening. Must one really wait until there are visible aduld bed bugs ? If as it seems in my appartement, they are in the plinths, it is impossible to check them entirely: there is some kind of felt material, at the bottom, when there is a bottom - sometimes at the wall's edge there are cracks and you can go straight through to the flat under.
    Is there any way one can find a capture very young bed bugs ?

    Thank you again for you comments.

  61. ItsJustABug

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun May 3 2015 10:58:02
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    I saw very small insects at night on my camp bed sheet while I was being bitten, and I once saw moving small dots that exploded in a blob of blood when I tried to catch them.

    If you see the tiny or small one's again try using clear tape to catch them , gently stick it over them , then you can take a photo of them . if it wont show up place the tape on lined paper and try again that way. hope this works for you & you can get them verified.

  62. ItsJustABug

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun May 3 2015 11:01:30
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    pidju:
    You really should start a new thread of your own now, this one is quite old & many experts may not check here.

  63. Richard56

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun May 3 2015 11:30:26
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    pid: The finality with which visual evidence is demanded for treatment still suprises me. Why would anyone want to take the risk to see the reproductive cycle start, or start again ? Is it because resistance to pesticide is becoming a problem ?
    ------------------------------
    I'm sure you're aware of the obvious reasons -- cost, pesticide exposure, resistance, legal requirements, etc., -- but I can understand given your history those not being persuasive.

    But one of the main reason not to treat without visual evidence is that if the bites continue after treatment, then what?

    Do you assume that it wasn't bed bugs in the first place? Or, more likely, given your current mindset, do you assume that the treatment didn't work. And that can lead to an endless cycle of treatment after treatment, all without having any real evidence to start with. This can be devastating on many levels.

    If you have bed bugs, and if they keep multiplying like you're afraid of, there will be signs that you can find by inspection and/or monitoring.

    Right now, your mind set should be "I don't have bed bugs until my inspections and monitors prove different." This will allow you more peace of mind and time to explore other reasons for the "bites", be it another insect or non-insect related causes.

    This is a much more reasonable and healthier mindset than your current 'I have bed bugs but I just can't find them", which could be replaced by arguably an even more self-destructive mindset -- if you treat without evidence -- which is "I have bed bugs but I just can't seem to get rid of them"

    Richard

  64. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun May 3 2015 18:06:16
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    pidju,
    Do you know that there are closely related species (bat and bird bugs) which may bother humans if their hosts are gone? If there are bats or birds nesting in, on, or near your building, it's possible one of these is the problem. They don't leave the same signs indoors (like fecal stains near where you're bitten, which will be present with bed bugs). It's unlikely you have the training to spot the visual differences in a specimen of bat or bird vs. bed bugs.

    It's also possible there's another problem entirely. So yes, visual ID is crucial in actually allowing you to solve the problem.

    At least one of our regular PCOs is in Europe and several more are active in international conferences, so you have some possibility of getting a good recommendation, but please DO start a new thread. If it makes things easier, you can copy and paste from this thread to the new one.

    Thank you!


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