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False Positive with K9 detection

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  1. stressed96

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jan 27 2017 1:16:13
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    I apologize in advance for the long post! I'd like to begin by saying that YEARS ago I spent the night and got attacked by these nasty pests at a (then friends) house. I had huge red welts, probably about 40-50 mostly on upper body. I know how I react to the bites. I've had a bb phobia since then. No joke, anywhere that I spend the night I make sure that I always check the bed! Which is why this is all so upsetting to me. My nightmare started 2 months ago. I am in college so I live in a 2 bed duplex with my best friend and her boyfriend. I am the only one who has been getting bit so they think I'm crazy. On November 19th I woke up with 2 red welts on my shin. I started freaking out but calmed myself down thinking it was nothing. On Nov. 29th, 10 days later, I woke up with 1 welt on my foot. Both these occasions happened at my duplex. Again, I assured myself it was nothing so I continued my day as normal. That night I decided to stay at my boyfriends place. I changed into pjs as soon as I got there. As I was changing I noticed 10-12 itchy red welts on my legs (below the knees) I was mortified! I started crying and he assured me I was just having an allergic reaction to something else ( I do have very sensitive skin). I just knew in my heart it had to be bbs. I continued to stay there the next 3 nights. I woke up on Dec 1st with 3 welts on lower back and I believe more on my legs. I assumed they were either already there and I didn't notice, or it was some sort of delayed reaction from my house. Naturally, I panicked and called a highly reputable local exterminator. She said she would meet me at my duplex and to not move anything around, etc. She found nothing during inspection. She checked my bed side table, mattress, and box spring (top and underneath) She suggested that I only stay at my place to see if I continued to get bitten. For peace of mind, I called a K9 detection team. A handler and his dog (german shepherd) walked every room in my duplex and had no alerts. I was still confused why I had bites, but was so happy that it wasn't bed bugs! I WENT THE WHOLE MONTH OF DECEMBER WITH NOTHING! On Dec. 30th, my family and I decided to go to dallas for new years. The idea of bed bugs was no longer on my mind. That night, as I was getting into the hotel bed I noticed 2 itchy bumps on my ankle. I'm pretty sure I yelled "you've got to be kidding me!" My parents also told me it must just be my sensitive skin reacting to something else. I wanted to cry. I tried to stay calm and enjoy my new years. On Jan 5th, I noticed itchy welts after a shower. It had to be 1 am and I'm certain they weren't there before my shower. I blame these on me shaving/exfoliating and dry brushing my legs. I thought maybe my skin was just being sensitive. My crazy self STILL decided to call the same K9 detection team. This time he checked my parents house and my duplex. No alert on either one. Even he said that maybe it was just my anxiety getting the best of me. I calmed down after checking my mattress and box spring "one last time" Luckily, I got no new bites or bumps between Jan. 5th and today (Jan 25th) So that brings me to this morning when I woke up with 6 classic bb bites (3 on each leg) I called the same guy and explained my frustration. He was very nice and said that he would come check my duplex again, this time with 2 backup dogs instead of his usual 1. The first dog came through and did NOT alert. The second dog alerted on the head side of my mattress opposite of where I sleep. The third dog came in and alerted on the same side. He then brought in the first dog again who this time, also alerted on my mattress. We then did a visual inspection. We checked every inch of my mattress, especially on the side that they alerted. We even took the dust ruffle of my box spring. Nothing. This took over an hour! My mattress and box spring were pristine (his words not mine) This only furthers my confusion. Of course it would make sense since I have bites, but why would the dogs not have alerted the last two times they came? Why are these bites only below my knee ( beside the one occasion I had them on my lower back) ? Why did I go almost a month without bites on two separate occasions? And why on earth am I not seeing any physical evidence after 2 months? Please, if anyone has ANY ideas respond. I don't know if I should get mattress encasements and play the wait and see game, or if I should just treat since the dogs got a positive. Again, I've seen no evidence and neither has the handler or the PCO that came. All I'm left with is random annoying bites!

    *I'd like to add the k9 inspector is the owner of business (its small) and is not affiliated with any sort of extermination. He only detects and refers you to several diff. companies. He also did not charge me for todays inspection even though he was there for almost 2 hours. I truly believe he's a good, honest man.

  2. SyazanaLopez

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jan 27 2017 3:15:07
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    This is interesting.
    Not an expert but i have myself considered the k9 option for my home and the company that provides the K9 has strict schedule for the dog. According to them, such dogs have VERY SENSITIVE NOSE.
    Hence they have told me to remove all perfumes/candles/food etc. basically anything that gives an odour should be removed from the inspection area.

    Maybe that's why the first 2 times the K9 did not notice any bugs. Was probably distracted by another stronger scent.

  3. Livingagain

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jan 27 2017 9:34:05
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    Tough problem. You would think that between November and now things would start to get noticeable. Does anyone have pets in the apt.?

  4. stressed96

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jan 27 2017 10:50:12
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    Thanks for your responses guys!

    Barelyliving,

    No pets in the house. I do live in a duplex so the guy on the other side of us (we know him pretty well) has an older indoor dog and a brand new kitten. He hasn't had any bites. My boyfriend hasn't stayed here per my request until I figure out what is going on, so I eliminated the chance of cross contamination. With my bed bug experience years ago, I got bit mostly on upper body. The dogs hit on the head side of mattress. You'd think that my arms and back would have something but it's all on lower legs. And I absolutely agree with you on there being some sort of evidence by now.

  5. Canuck

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jan 27 2017 17:14:06
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    Stressed96 - with whom are the canines and handler certified? And did the handler reward the dog? There are teams without any type of certification, some who were certified once at the beginning of their careers, others, who spend the time and money to re-certify at least once every 12 months and others who only certify with the trainer that trained the dog in the first place. The easiest for the consumer to check is with the two independent accrediation agencies: NESDCA and WDDO as they maintain a list of certified teams online. As for an unverified alert - you should monitor. If bed bugs are present, they are feeding and will leave physical evidence.

    SyazanaLopez - I respectfully disagree with your cainine handler's proceedures. There is no need to remove materials from a search area due to odour. How in the world would bomb and drug dogs be effective if this was the case? Smugglers routinely try to diguise or mask ordour or seal it in what they believe to be air tight containers - to no avail. A dog sees the world through their nose. While we smell a freshly baked apple pie the dog detect's each and every individual ingredient - the flour, the spices, the sugar, etc. A scent detection dog has been trained to alert on one scent.

    Stressed96 - your timelines and reaction areas you have outlined do not add up to bed bugs. As bareliving stated, evidence would be there relative to the time line and the number of skin reactions. My best guess...fleas even though there is not a pet present in the residence.

    As for possible causes for a 'false positive' - the two bigs causes is poor health -the dog must be in excellent health - including dental health; two it is possible for a trainer to innocently slip up in their maintenance training exercises when a second odour becomes associated with the target odour. This happened to some drug dogs...the dogs were very accurate until the target odour was stored in plastic baggies between training exercises. The odour of the bags was absorded by the drugs and consequently trained the dogs to alert on the drug and plastic bags. All of a sudden the canines were alerting on the storage container that held the plastic bags (no drugs). LOL. Fortunately, if a dog can be trained to something - they can also be untrained. With a bit of extra work the drug dogs were back up to snuff. (I know bad pun). And the handlers learned to add empty plastic bags to the materials that they used in their distraction exercises. A good handler, always tests their dog to other attractive odours - treats, toys, other bugs, etc. to ensure the canine does not alert on them - included bed bug dead scent, hatched eggs and fecal.

    Sheree Swindle / certified K9-assisted bed bug inspector
  6. stressed96

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jan 27 2017 18:42:10
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    Canuck,

    Thank you for responding! I do live in a wooded area, so nests and other things could definitely be around my duplex. In fact the back of my house is primarily open fields and I've seen tons of ticks out there. I also work for an investment company where we have to go to empty houses that could easily have fleas, etc. I find it very strange that my bites are only on my legs, although yesterday when I woke up I had a straight line with 3 bites on my leg which is what really worries me. The handler rewards with a ball. I have already looked the team up on NEDSCA and they are not on the list. I will have to check WDDO. To be honest, I'm not quite sure who they are certified with. I know the business has been open for years and they've done several libraries, colleges, and call centers but I feel silly not knowing how they are certified. Also, in yesterdays case how could the first dog not have alerted the first time, yet alerted the second time the handler brought her in.. very weird. I think I will encase the mattress and box spring and continue to monitor. My landlord will not treat unless I have physical evidence.

    * I forgot to mention that the handler gave the ball (the reward) to one of the dogs the last time he was here on 1/5. I found that odd since I got a negative and he still gave the ball to the dog once he was in the cage.

  7. stressed96

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jan 27 2017 19:07:42
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    update: team is not certified on NEDSCA or WDDO.

  8. SyazanaLopez

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jan 27 2017 21:27:12
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    Canuck - i'm no dog expert. Just saying what i was told by the PCO. Plus i get your point though.

  9. Canuck

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jan 27 2017 22:50:22
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    SyazanaLopez - A OK; unfortunately misinformation is out there and for canine scent detection, it is a field that has grown quickly to fill a market need world-wide and as happens with quick growth misinformation, inexperience or plain and simple errors in logic have resulted in some confusing beliefs.

    ...gotta run will try to get back later. Sheree

  10. stressed96

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Jan 28 2017 17:34:23
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    well guys, I woke up with a bite directly in the center of my bites from 2 nights before. I also have 2 new bites on my foot. The anxiety that this is giving me along with the positives from the K9s really just make me want to treat as of now. I am in nursing school and just want to get this over with. It's a constant battle in my head of whether or not to do it but I can't seem to just wait around for evidence knowing this problem could get worse. I have decided going the chemical route. Any suggestions or tips from someone who has had success with chemicals? The woman doing it has extremely good reviews on every website I could find. She is charging $485. I live in OKC for reference.


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