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K9 on pests other than bed bugs

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  1. JustChecking

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Dec 22 2014 23:52:43
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    Hi K9 experts or anyone who has experienced in this area,

    I'd like to let you know that I did read some K9 threads including parts of the K9 industry (former green sticky) thread. However, I couldn't find the answers to the following questions:

    1. Do you know if a beagle K9 can detect all kinds of pests?

    2. Is it mandatory for the dog handler to visual confirm (pests other than bed bugs)?

    3. Do people usually clean before the K9 shows up? If so, please give examples.

    4. What happens to the items in Ziplocs? Is the person suppose to open up all the bags?

    5. In this scenario (pests other than bed bugs), since it can be anything if there is, I don't see how the handler could do a test run before the actual 'K9 show'. What do you think?

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 23 2014 6:37:41
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    Hi,

    The dog has to be trained specifically to the scent in question for it to be accurate and ideally it should only be trained to detect on target scent per environment, i.e. there is no point in a K9 alerting to bedbugs and "drugs" as there may be drugs in someone room that the dog could alert to instead of the bedbugs.

    1 - I know of dogs that are trained for termites but have never heard of a flea detecting dog or one for carpet beetles (there is just not the market for them).

    2 - While it is best practice to do so there is no industry standard / need to visually confirm, something that is likley to change soon.

    If you are saying that someone is claiming to have a detection service that is non specific I would be very cautious of the claims and how they would prove what the dog is alerting to if it is in fact alerting to anything.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    If you have found this information helpful please consider leaving feedback on social media via google+ or FaceBook or by like/loving the images.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) 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 products.
  3. P Bello

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 23 2014 9:02:03
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    Dear jc,

    Actually I agree with may of the points raised above in response to your query.

    Alas, the K9 pest scent detection industry is likely hard wired to a certain path we've seen in the pest management industry previously. Allow me to explain this via this bug industry history lesson, sorry for the length and the spelling errors:

    In the late 1980s the foundation of the pest management industry was shaken vigorously when the cyclodienes/chlorinated hydrocarbon based termiticide products were taken from them or "banned" from such uses. Industry veterans saw staple and dependable products such as chlordane, dieldrin, heptachlor, termide and other such products removed from supplier shelves.

    In a sense we might call what happened "the perfect storm". The combination of an errant application of termiticide, a competent attorney and the right customer provide to be the lynch pin that took these products from the professional and retail markets. The actual incident happened in Islip, NY, just miles from my home, and in it's wake closed a long established pest company with over one hundred employees. This home had a heat provided by what is called a "plenum system" which includes formed concrete elongated rectangular blocks. These blocks fit together end to end and are hollow pipe like within which carry the heated air supply under the slab of the home to the various heat registers located throughout the house.

    During the termite application work, the technicians drilled through the floor slab and into the plenum system where they then applied termiticide solution. It was reasonable at the time to contend that the home could have been remediated in a number of ways however, something went egregiously wrong and the homeowner's attorney literally had the home bulldozed. It was front page news and I remember the photos to this day. I wonder where all those folks are now???

    Anyway, the industry had very effective termiticide products which were gone in just the blink of an eye! The immediate replacement products were what I might describe as "not so much" type products. Of the first were insectophogous nematodes. These are microscopic helminthes (i.e. worms) that are parasites of certain insects. The ones being used (Stieinermid spp) would reportedly enter the termite's body via their spiracles (breathing port holes), ingestion and possibly through the anal opening. Once inside, these little wormy bastards would feed and reproduce digesting the termite from the inside out and spreading to other termites. It was "supposed to" work and be a "natural" and "green" solution for all. Yeah! But, not so much.

    When we purchased this product it arrived in a foil pouch. Inside was a blue, thin, rolled, rectangular sponge material. When unrolled the sponge had a mayonnaise like substance deposited on the center of it. We then were instructed to view a suitably prepared sample of this substance under our microscope to determine that the nematodes were actually alive and viable for such use. (Stop thinking that !)

    The sponge would then be bathed in room temperature water in a bucket and mixed in the application tank for use as a termiticide product.

    Now, there was a huge problem. While we could kill termites by the millions in the lab, in the field under and around your house; er, uh, not so much. Here's why; the nematodes are microscopic while the termites are literally thousands of times their size. As such, the logistics for a successful nematode inoculation of a termite were extremely difficult. Picture it this way: you're standing on the side of I-95 and all you need do is to jump onto tractor trailer tucks as they drive by at 75 mph.

    In short, the industry was essentially without a viable termiticide product for a period of time and, as we all know, necessity is the "mother of invention". Soon after other termiticide products were introduced but none had the performance of the previous products and termite callbacks and damage claims hit record levels further rocking the industry at its core.

    K9 trainers began to introduce the industry to the first pest scent detection dogs for termite inspections. In a relatively short time K9s were being used for termite inspections across the US and there were certain K9 training kennel companies that met this need.

    However, in time, the global basic chemical manufacturers discovered and developed excellent termite products thus reducing the need for K9 termite inspections and so went the K9 termite detection business and industry.

    We all know that time marches on. In time we will eventually see highly effective and efficacious products and methodologies with which to eliminate bed bugs and our K9 friends will become pets once more. The question is how long before we have such products? In my observation and opinion we still have a few years to go.

    Responses to your other questions are as follows:

    1. Do you know if a beagle K9 can detect all kinds of pests?

    Unless you know different, I'm pretty sure that ALL beagles are K9s. However, a suitable dog may be trained to successfully and reliably detect any number of items including weapons, explosives, drugs, animals, humans and insects. Scent detection experts will advise that when it comes to insect pests that it is best that the K9 be trained to be target "species specific" (i.e. bed bugs only) for various reasons. For example, if a K9 is crossed trained to detect termites and bed bugs, how will the handler know if the K9 is alerting to bed bugs or termites without having to do additional inspection work? While some K9 folks may say it's possible, as a consulting entomologist I'd not recommend it to my clientele.

    2. Is it mandatory for the dog handler to visual confirm (pests other than bed bugs)?

    When the 20-20 show eventually airs you will see that both Lou and I recommend this as a best practice. And, I'm pretty sure that the K9 Association folks agree. In fact, this will be discussed during the K9 presentation at the upcoming Thermal Remediation Conference in March.

    3. Do people usually clean before the K9 shows up? If so, please give examples.

    It's tough to say what people "usually do" however, when working with my clients in the field we prefer that the home being inspected is in an "as is" condition such that we can conduct a suitable inspection under the actual conditions therein. You ma wish to refer to the K9 section of my article "Over 201 Things to Know About Bed Bugs" for more on working with dogs.

    4. What happens to the items in Ziplocs? Is the person suppose to open up all the bags?

    Not sure how you mean this question here. However, I've seen where a K9 can scent detect through a sealed zip lock bag. And, by the way, I'm sure there's a bunch of smugglers who have learned this the hard way too, just sayin . . .

    5. In this scenario (pests other than bed bugs), since it can be anything if there is, I don't see how the handler could do a test run before the actual 'K9 show'. What do you think?

    Not sure but I think this question has been addressed above. In short, competent bed bug K9 folks are using dogs trained solely for bed bugs these days.

    Sorry for the length but hope this helps ! pjb

    While

  4. JustChecking

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 23 2014 14:02:06
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    Many sincere thanks, David and Paul.

    Paul, don't worry about the long post. Although I only looked at the answers to my questions, I will come back to read the history. That's what I can deal with right now. I am sure other people can read your reply in 1 shot.

  5. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 23 2014 17:00:35
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    Experts tell us it's necessary for k9 handlers to do a visual verification.

    However, when you ask "is it mandatory for a dog handler to visually confirm?" -- if by "mandatory" you mean, are handlers required to do this to be in business, then no. Many companies don't visually confirm. Our FAQ on canine scent detection recommends that people hiring a handler choose one who does.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  6. loubugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 23 2014 18:44:53
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    I guess the short of it is that the dogs used in bed bug sniffing are trained to alert on bed bugs, living bed bugs and viable eggs. Some people have trained dogs to alert to termites, wood destroying beetles, carpenter ants, fungi, etc. in the pest control arena. Visual confirmation is best because by an alert by the dog could translate into various scenarios due to the training regimes and how well training and re-training is done. If they don't check to see if the dog is correct, they could be rewarding a dog for making mistakes. There is also medical use of canine alerts to various cancers as well.

    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.
  7. JustChecking

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Dec 24 2014 15:36:22
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    I appreciate your help, NoBugs and Lou!
    ________
    Hello:

    If the upstairs apartment's bed bug infestation was very, very light, could you please share if you would check these locations in the downstairs apartment and why or why not?

    1. Would you take the dog to check my storage room which is next to the laundry room? I am assuming that the dog handler has never come into my apartment before and doesn't know what's in it. Clearly, there is a door to my in-suite storage room, and the laundry room is right next door.

    2. Would you take the dog to check the bathroom?

    3. Is the dog's sniffing ability so powerful that it can tell if there is any bed bugs in an item on the floor that has 8 small knobs, with ~3 gaps that could hold ~2 to 3 credit cards on each knob, without 'walk right in front of it and sniff'? The distance of this object and the path the dog has to pass by is very short (similar to less-than-half-the-width of a desktop keyboard).

    4. Would you take the dog to sniff at a plastic wrapped luggage, the distance is a-bit-more-than-the-width-of-a-keyboard?

    5. One of the parts that I didn't get to see was the bedroom setting. If my box spring and mattress both are covered with bed sheets with encasements underneath while my pillow and comforter are on top of the bed. The bed frame has a low rise stand, so there is a space at the bottom. Can the dog sniff through the encasement? Or does the dog go underneath the bed and sniff? How does it work?

    I must add my one-year-old sturdy bed frame miraculously got loosen or widen on the front end (where the pillow is) X number of months ago. I have never encountered situation with any bed frame like this before.

    What are your thoughts?


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