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

K-9 Inspection is a Scam???

(25 posts)
  1. brooklyn_upallnight

    newbite
    Joined: Apr '11
    Posts: 11

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 20 2011 17:16:48
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Had my home inspected by a k-9 yesterday. In my opinion, k-9 inspection doesn't work. Why?

    1. K-9 detection is limited to adult bed bugs. The k-9 will not positively identify the scent of a bed bug unless it's an adult bed bug. The k-9 does not identify nymphs or bed bug eggs.

    2. The k-9 needs to be prompted. The k-9 needs to be prompted by the k-9 technician to smell a particular area. I was under the impression that the dog would roam a small area of the room and indicate if the bed bug scent is sourced in that area. It turns out that the k-9 inspector has to tap his fingers on the specific area that needs to be sniffed in order for the dog to start put its nose to it, directly.

    3. The k-9 can only detect within a 6 inch radius of its nose. If there are bed bugs 10 inches away from the area that the k-9 technician tapped his fingers, the dog won't be able to detect the scent of bed bugs. In other words, the dog's nose needs to be directly on a hidden ADULT BED BUG in order for the process to work.

    This process is complete rubbish.

    So, the k-9 technician hid a vile of the bed bugs. Then tapped other areas of the room for the dog to sniff. He eventually came around to tapped where the vile was hidden and it took for the dog to sniff the area 5 times in order to indicate that it smelled bed bugs by sitting down (the PCO informed me that the dog is trained to sit in front of the area harboring bed bugs). The dog was given some dog food as a reward. You see, the dog doesn't eat unless it detects the scent of bed bugs. This demonstration was meant to reassure me that the dog was able to detect bed bugs.

    What's funny is that about an hour after the k-9 tech removed the vile, the dog was let loose in my home as the technician and I were chatting. The dog roamed around and then went back to where the vile of bed bugs had been hidden and later removed, it sniffed the area a few times, sat down and then looked up at the k-9 technician expectantly.

    Are you thinking what I am thinking? The dog is hungry. The dog is clever. Now, why have we as humans resorted to relying on these adorable, clever dogs? Why are k-9 technicians able to get a license by taking a 40 hour course and buying a $3,000 dog?

    The k-9 technician is really a construction worker who only received his k-9 certification in November 2010 and doesn't have much experience with pest control. When he saw my packtite, he didn't even know what it was and had never heard of one. He also didn't know that bed bugs have 5 stages, and need to feed in order to molt from one stage to the next.

    This process and the technician is more than likely a scam.

  2. toledo

    member
    Joined: Sep '10
    Posts: 299

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 20 2011 18:19:01
    #



    Login to Send PM

    My experience wasn't the best either. Money down the drain! I do believe that some dogs can detect BBs. Always ask the handler to visually confirm when a dog marks. Show me the bed bugs!

  3. brooklyn_upallnight

    newbite
    Joined: Apr '11
    Posts: 11

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 20 2011 18:24:36
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi toledo,

    The k-9 technician kept saying, "Show me the bed bugs," and "Show me better," to the dog. But after flipping the couch over and inspecting every inch, the tech found nothing visually except fecal marks. Sad.

    Thanks for your supportive post!

  4. toledo

    member
    Joined: Sep '10
    Posts: 299

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 20 2011 18:46:19
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Well, the dog did find fecal marks. That's something! My Cincinnati dog handler made no effort to find anything. He just asked me ahead of time where I found the bugs and then miraculously, that was the exact spot his dog marked. I tried my own test with a live bed bug stuck to a piece of tape. The dog couldn't find it.

  5. KillerQueen

    oldtimer
    Joined: Mar '08
    Posts: 4,253

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 20 2011 20:14:17
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Brooklyn,

    While I'm no fan of K9 detection, I'll tell you this, just about everything you stated is incorrect. I'll leave it for the K9 handlers/trainers here but just so you know .. your post is way off target.

  6. DougSummersMS

    oldtimer
    Joined: May '07
    Posts: 1,957

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 20 2011 20:19:45
    #



    Login to Send PM

    brooklyn_upallnight - 2 hours ago  » 
    Had my home inspected by a k-9 yesterday. In my opinion, k-9 inspection doesn't work. Why?
    1. K-9 detection is limited to adult bed bugs. The k-9 will not positively identify the scent of a bed bug unless it's an adult bed bug. The k-9 does not identify nymphs or bed bug eggs.
    2. The k-9 needs to be prompted. The k-9 needs to be prompted by the k-9 technician to smell a particular area. I was under the impression that the dog would roam a small area of the room and indicate if the bed bug scent is sourced in that area. It turns out that the k-9 inspector has to tap his fingers on the specific area that needs to be sniffed in order for the dog to start put its nose to it, directly.
    3. The k-9 can only detect within a 6 inch radius of its nose. If there are bed bugs 10 inches away from the area that the k-9 technician tapped his fingers, the dog won't be able to detect the scent of bed bugs. In other words, the dog's nose needs to be directly on a hidden ADULT BED BUG in order for the process to work.

    I'm not sure about the source of your information, but the assertions listed above in quotes are all false.

    1) A properly trained K9 can detect all life stages... eggs, nymphs and adult bed bugs... This is a well established fact.

    2) Many handlers direct the inspection with hand signals to ensure that all areas of interest are checked by the K9... The dog is quite capable of detecting bed bugs without prompting... It sounds like you were dealing with an inexperienced handler.

    3)The K9s nose does not need to be within six inches of an adult bed bug... Dogs can detect bed bugs at much greater distances... We routinely hide vials of bed bugs in locations that are 6 - 8 feet above the floor during training.

    The size and shape of the scent cone is variable and asymmetrical... The distance will depend on several factors such as air movement and level of infestation... I try to get my K9 within a couple feet of any area of interest in an occupied unit.

    The going rate for a properly trained K9 is closer to $10,000... If the dog in question cost 3K... You are likely dealing with someone that that was not trained by one of the established K9 providers.

    The key active ingredient for a K9 team is the skill of the handler... Not understanding the basic biology of bed bug development is unacceptable for a PMP that specializes in bed bug inspections.

    I'm sorry that you had a bad experience, but I have to take issue with the claim that K9 inspection is a scam.

    A properly handled K9 is an accurate tool... The problems you described are related to handling skill... not food reward... The critical issue is the relationship between the K9 and the handler.

  7. djames1921

    senior member
    Joined: Sep '08
    Posts: 691

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 20 2011 20:34:34
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Brooklyn,

    Sorry you had a bad experience, but their are good handlers out there with great dogs that are just as horrified by your experience as you were, Doug and others work very hard to train and use dogs appropriately, try not to let the one bad apple spoil the bunch. I hate to hear when bbug sufferers get poor service/products you have enough to deal with as it is.

  8. brooklyn_upallnight

    newbite
    Joined: Apr '11
    Posts: 11

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 20 2011 22:39:53
    #



    Login to Send PM

    KillerQueen - Thank you for your input. The k-9 and k-9 technician were obviously inexperienced.

    djames1921 - Well, one apple did spoil the bunch. Thank you for your post and your empathy for my difficult position. Now it's up to me to convince my leasing company to employ another k-9 inspection service. Tenants who are dealing with bed bugs may lose the ability to have their extermination costs covered by the leasing company if the report from the k-9 inspection does not provide evidence of an infestation. At this stage in his career, the k-9 technician should be in an apprenticeship or internship with a prominent and established k-9 bed bug detection firm. This inexperienced k-9 technician is adversely affecting the consumer's trust of k-9 inspection.

    DougSummersMS - Thanks for your post. The question is: What are more established k-9 operators such as yourself doing to protect the consumer's trust of the k-9 industry? There should be a crackdown on these 40 hour seminars which are creating a distrust for your otherwise invaluable service. Maybe you should post faq's and guidelines about k-9 pest inspection in order to empower consumers with the specific industry standards for k-9 operation.

  9. brooklyn_upallnight

    newbite
    Joined: Apr '11
    Posts: 11

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 20 2011 22:49:14
    #



    Login to Send PM

    DougSummersMS - Also, the source of my information was the k-9 operator. The operator conducted his inspection 5 times allowing the dog to work for half an hour and rest in his car between "searches". During the breaks of this tiresome inspection, I asked him specific questions about the k-9 industry, his training, the origin of the dog, and the methods he was using to inspect. It turned out that I knew a lot more about bed bugs than the operator, and apparently this operator and k-9 were poorly trained.

    I would suggest that every consumer out there educate himself on bed bugs thoroughly before a PCO or k-9 led inspection takes place in his home. I had the confidence to ask specific questions because I have become well-versed on the topic.

    The passive consumer does not stand a chance in this money-making bed bug industry. Not a chance!

  10. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,253

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 20 2011 23:46:07
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi brooklyn,

    I'm sorry you had this experience.

    As others have noted, dogs can detect bed bugs, but all dogs and handlers are not equally skilled. Many handlers don't even visually inspect.

    Bedbugger has a canine scent detection FAQ.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  11. cilecto

    oldtimer
    Joined: Aug '08
    Posts: 4,085

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Apr 21 2011 9:51:55
    #



    Login to Send PM

    @KQ. Is is safe to say that your reaction to "Brooklyn" was that the information given to him by the handler was way off base (and s/he's right to be skeptical), rather than that Brooklyn was wrong? Controversies over canine detection notwithstanding, could this one have been a purebred scam?

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  12. KillerQueen

    oldtimer
    Joined: Mar '08
    Posts: 4,253

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Apr 21 2011 12:04:25
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Yes, Brooklyn is the consumer and was misinformed by the "professional" hired to conduct the inspection. He/she only knows what they are told or reads on the net. I wouldn't expect the consumer to know everything bed bug related. You call a professional to help resolve an issue. Its bad business when you hire somebody and get the results mentioned above.

    I work behind many dogs in the field and see this all day long. I can't stand when a person has to have 2 inspections to figure out what is going on. I can't even tell you how many times a person calls my office after a K9 inspection and is looking for treatment without solid evidence of an infestation. The media (and now the NPMA) push how accurate the dogs are at finding bed bugs, AND THEY ARE when trained properly. But the problem is the handler that will not confirm the "hit" and this will leave the honest PCO wondering if they really have a bed bug problem.

    6 months ago about 60% of people looking for bed bug inspections didn't have a bed bug problem. The number for me is now about 80% because of the media attention with bed bugs. I know the dog can find a bed bug, but show me evidence that the dog is right! Without it, you increase the number of false positives in the field.

    Example; I was called by a married woman with 2 children last week. Both adults had bites and the building sent over a K9 for an inspection. The K9 "hit" on the master bed but not the sofa in the living room. No visual confirmation, no effort to look at all. They had another guy come back in to do a visual and this guy told them they have nothing, NO BED BUGS. They decided to move forward with treatment and the next guy who came in for the treatment found nothing either. This guy did a full on Bed Bug treatment, told them he found nothing, and told them they didn't have bed bugs.

    Fast forward to my turn ... I don't know what to think with 2 people getting bit. I'm not going to do a treatment without evidence, despite a "hit" from a K9. Well, I went in and pulled 8 Bed Bugs out of the sofa during my inspection. If you can't find bed bugs during a treatment, you will most likely fail at that treatment.

    Now, was the dog wrong? Probably not. The problem was the handler, the guy who did the visual inspection, and the third guy who did the treatment. The point is a person should not have to go through all this to get an insect problem solved. They shouldn't have to go to the internet to find out everything they need to know about bed Bugs. They should be able to call on 1 company and trust that everything they need to know will be taken care of.

    So is short, 80% of people looking for bed bug inspections don't have bed bugs.

    I have yet to be impressed by any handler that can confirm, visually, a low level infestation after a dog has alerted to a problem.

    I see false negatives and positives on a daily bases and its always the fault of the handler. Even if the dog was trained by the best trainers in the field, a lot of handlers destroy the accuracy of the dog within weeks of purchasing them.

    And I know the dog can find them .... I have never disputed that. My problem is on the other end of the leash.

    Brooklyn was a victim of a bad inspection. I educate people all day long and whether I'm holding a leash or a can of poisson, if you are in this business, you better know what you're talking about.

  13. cilecto

    oldtimer
    Joined: Aug '08
    Posts: 4,085

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Apr 21 2011 12:37:54
    #



    Login to Send PM

    A can of poisson? Are we getting snooty about our "poulet de la mer", now?

  14. Exterminator Toronto

    newbite
    Joined: Feb '11
    Posts: 12

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Apr 21 2011 13:26:54
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi Brooklyn,

    Your not the only one having issues with K9 detection, but it is not because the K9's don't work... they do! Due to the high demand for this service many extermination companies are getting dogs and many independent companies are starting up. I also suspect that the dog training facilities are under pressure to supply the dogs to fill the industry need. I am aware of one training facility where the course for the dog and handler which was originally 5 days has been reduced to 3. The handler and the dog are a team and experience is an important factor. I also suspect that some pest control companies are may not be concerned with accurate K9 inspection and are looking to sell a pest control service as well as the K9 inspection. I don't want people to get the wrong idea, I support K9 inspection and have seen it done very successfully many times. The issue is who to trust? Certification of these dogs means very little in my opinion, that was a measure of performance at a certain point in time and the dogs need continuous training. We am currently using a dog that has no certification from any organization but the handler and the K9 are very experienced. Sorry for the bad experience you have had, K9 detection does work well when performed by an experienced team.

  15. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,253

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Apr 21 2011 13:57:05
    #



    Login to Send PM

    cilecto - 1 hour ago  » 
    A can of poisson? Are we getting snooty about our "poulet de la mer", now?

    If they're trying to kill bed bugs with a can of fish, things are worse even than I thought.

    Nice catch, Ci.

  16. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,253

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Apr 21 2011 13:59:26
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Exterminator Toronto - 31 minutes ago  » 
    We am currently using a dog that has no certification from any organization but the handler and the K9 are very experienced. Sorry for the bad experience you have had, K9 detection does work well when performed by an experienced team.

    Exterminator,

    Does your k9 handler visually confirm all dog alerts by searching for evidence?

  17. brooklyn_upallnight

    newbite
    Joined: Apr '11
    Posts: 11

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Apr 21 2011 15:37:31
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Exterminator Toronto, Nobugsoneme, & Killer Queen,

    Thank you for your professional opinion and your support! I have researched each of you and found that you are truly experts in your field. You are doing a great service to tenants, homeowners, and property managers through your generosity on this website. You inspire me to be more generous through providing free services in my field of expertise.

    At this point my leasing company is refusing to pay for further extermination due to the fact that the k-9 inspection did not find a live bug.

    The inexperienced k-9 handler is unintentionally doing more damage than he is aware of. The k-9 handler is:

    1. Tarnishing the image of the k-9 industry
    2. Preventing tenants from getting treatment in a timely manner in order to avoid suffering
    3. Preventing the leasing company and/or landlord from controlling the spread of an infestation to surrounding apartments; and
    4. Potentially costing the landlord and multiple tenants thousands of dollars in future treatment of major infestation and replacing infested furniture

    Though this is probably not what the k-9 handler or PCO intended, because they are decent and kind people, the only party who stands to benefit from this false negative is the routine PCO and the k-9 handler that he recommended. Repeat visits to this apartment building will be costly for the landlord, yet financially beneficial to the pest control teams.

    My only option is to request that the landlord send another k-9 inspection team. It breaks my heart to ruin that inexperienced k-9 operator's career by complaining about his sub-standard practices, but too much is at stake.

    Thanks again, guys!

  18. cilecto

    oldtimer
    Joined: Aug '08
    Posts: 4,085

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Apr 21 2011 15:58:49
    #



    Login to Send PM

    @Brooklyn
    I think the best you can do is set up your own detectors and learn to to your own inspections. There's a good guide on the Resources page that I recommend. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/emergingdiseases/Bed_Bug_Manual_v1_full_reduce_326605_7.pdf Also, there are Jeff White's videos on BedBugCentral.com or Austin Frishman's on YouTube. Even if you don't find bugs right away, if infested, you'll find poop marks. Your LL's dog should not be the last word on your infestation. NYC has relatively pro tenant laws and a decent tenant activist safety net. If you find evidence, you should be able to challenge the landlord.

    Nobugsonme - 2 hours ago  » 

    cilecto - 1 hour ago  » 
    A can of poisson? Are we getting snooty about our "poulet de la mer", now?

    If they're trying to kill bed bugs with a can of fish, things are worse even than I thought.
    Nice catch, Ci.

    High School French
    "Poisson sans boisson, c'est poison!"

  19. DougSummersMS

    oldtimer
    Joined: May '07
    Posts: 1,957

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Apr 21 2011 16:21:31
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Brooklyn,

    I sent a PM to you.

    I think that you may want to consider bed bug monitoring systems at this point.

    A monitor can help us acquire a physical specimen that will document the presence of live activity.

    Bed Bug Beacon and BB Alert Passive monitors will work around the clock to capture a specimen to produce the necessary evidence for your management company.

  20. brooklyn_upallnight

    newbite
    Joined: Apr '11
    Posts: 11

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Apr 21 2011 19:11:40
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Cilecto & DougSummerMS,

    Thanks for the great idea! It'll take work (I'm exhausted), but I will have to start my own bed bug monitoring system in order to catch a specimen. Hopefully it'll be enough for my management company.

    I have also sent the management company an email requesting another dog inspection service. It would be wonderful if they agreed to send a more experienced dog handler.

    I'm going to read your PM right not, DougSummerMS.

    Thanks again!

  21. jmc1

    newbite
    Joined: May '11
    Posts: 11

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue May 3 2011 1:37:41
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I have had 2 inspections- one first positive hit on my bed and 3 pieces of furniture; then a week later; another k9; with no treatment in between; and a negative inspection. No visuals have been found- but I am really upset with this. I am not sure what to do. The negative inspecition result- that company won't treat without a positive; the other company is more than willing to treat for about 2k- but they had no visual. I am not sure what to do.

  22. BBJames

    newbite
    Joined: Apr '11
    Posts: 25

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue May 3 2011 2:10:55
    #



    Login to Send PM

    jmc1,

    You should confirm visual conformation of live activity from your inspector. These days with all the petty scams going on, you should inspect your inspector, as he or she inspects your issue. You should only agree to a treatment after they have shown you a positive confirmation of bed bugs. No visual.... No money spent....

    I would call the K-9 company that said they had a confirmed BB visual during the inspection, and simply ask for documented proof of what their findings were. Then explain for the cost of their treatment you would need visual proof. If they are being truthful, they will meet your needs at no additional cost, knowing a visual conformation will lock in a service treatment for $2400.00

    I would look into some inexpensive monitoring devices, which may help confirm yea or nea.

    Good Luck

  23. Grateful for Help

    junior member
    Joined: Dec '10
    Posts: 105

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 16 2011 22:47:13
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Nobugsonme - 3 weeks ago  » 

    cilecto - 1 hour ago  » 
    A can of poisson? Are we getting snooty about our "poulet de la mer", now?

    If they're trying to kill bed bugs with a can of fish, things are worse even than I thought.
    Nice catch, Ci.

    Oh, gosh. Thanks for the laugh. Ou, peut-etre, Merci pour le rire!!!

  24. tangler

    newbite
    Joined: Jun '11
    Posts: 4

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 12 2011 11:15:44
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Question: If I were to hire one of these guys then, should I expect the dog to be roaming then? or would the technician be pointing everywhere right away? Also, when a dog checks a room, will it sniff all around the room or would it sniff only in a few higher possible locations before finishing?

    Sorry if my questions are a little unclear. I'm a bit of a noob at this.... just want a better idea of what to expect.

  25. buggyinsocal

    oldtimer
    Joined: Jun '08
    Posts: 2,431

    offline

    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 12 2011 11:47:37
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Tangler,

    I didn't use K9 detection, so I cannot speak to a lot of the specifics of it. But I can talk about three things that may be useful.

    1. The mark of any good dog/handler team is that when the dog alerts, the handler should follow up with visual inspection of that spot to confirm the hit.

    2. We have an FAQ on things you should know before hiring a bed bug detection dog/handler team that I would suggest reading if you haven't already done so.

    3. You might search the forum to see if anyone else here has used a dog/handler team where you live and has reviews--positive and/or negative. If you type your city and dog or your city and K9 into the search box, you may get lucky and find reviews from folks in your neck of the woods. (If you already thought of that, or you are already pretty good at searching, I apologize for stating the obvious, but it can be hard for us to tell what people have and haven't done before posting.).

    Hope that helps.


RSS feed for this topic


Reply

You must log in to post.

293,482 posts in 49,272 topics over 152 months by 21,594 of 22,016 members. Latest: evil11, Airbnbug, junojunk