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PCO says K9 can't distinguish between live and dead bugs... do their dogs suck?

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  1. LSS

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Oct 21 2013 7:47:40
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    Hey... so am having a K9 inspection this thursday - two weeks after chemical treatment 3 (there has been no activity since).Anyway... Orkin in Toronto is doing the inspection - they also did the treatments. Despite what their website says, they just told me on the phone that if a bug has died recently the K9 can't distinguish it from a live bug or eggs. So... is Orkin just being more honest (though their website isn't) about their K9s' abilities, since other company definitely claim their dogs can tell the difference, or does Orkin just not train their dogs well enough?

    Please advise.

    Thank you!

  2. loubugs

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Oct 21 2013 10:17:56
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    Did they tell you how long after a bug is dead will their dog not react? I've seen dogs not react a few hours after the bug died. Certainly a few days. I think there had been some research on this subject at U FL.

    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.
  3. LSS

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Oct 21 2013 18:11:40
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    Hey... no. I really didn't get the impression the people answering the phones knew much about anything. when I told them their website says the dogs can distinguish between live and dead bugs - she said "I'll look into that" - they are not filling me with confidence. my general experience has been that the people answering the phones there don't talk to the technicians and i am assuming not the handlers either - i followed their protocal sheet - and then the technician came and said all the dressers, etc needed to be turned on their side - why don't they put that in their prep sheet?

    as it turns out i am at the stage, perhaps prematurely - it's been treated 3 times now - but i already had insomnia and clinical anxiety before this - that i have already dumped all the furniture minus my desk and chair - those will be the last to go (sleeping on an air mattress), putting all personal belongings in storage - with some pest strips for the stuff i will need soon-ish (giving that at least a month) and leaving - the dog is coming because the co-op i live in wants to believe it's bed bug free to rent it to someone else... i figure it might as well have the dog sniff my stuff before i leave, since I am not paying for it, though it really doesn't help me at this point.

    my big issue with orkin - since i of course can't see how thorough a job they are doing (but the infestation appears small and i think 3 treatments is one too many), they can never give straight answers. the live vs dead bugs thing seems like a pretty significant thing - they also told me the dog would smell any bugs that are more than a few feet above it's nose... and i saw a dead bug in a spider web in the corner of the ceiling yesterday; which suggest the bug was hanging out up there - which the dog would miss, apparently... so the whole thing just seems pointless. at least with orkin.

    thanks for your reply

  4. P Bello

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Oct 21 2013 22:43:46
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    I've worked with dogs that could find one egg.

    While dogs may vary, handlers seem to vary even more.

    Overall, I think K9s are a good tool but a poor handler can ruin results from a good dog.

    Remember, law enforcement and our military rely on K9 scent detection every day. Dogs can be a useful tool when used properly.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  5. loubugs

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Oct 22 2013 6:58:30
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    Just to reiterate, dogs are trained on live bed bugs, viable eggs. They are proofed off of everything else that could be in the vial, in the room, at least with reference to other arthropods. This is ideal, but some trainers and handlers might not follow this 100%. I know that not all will visually verify either; one handler told me her insurance doesn't let her do identifications since she isn't an entomologist. It is up to the PCO/PMP to verify where the dog alerts, an action that might not follow right on the heals of the canine inspection. I know many canines that will alert to a single egg or 1st instar nymph and one tore into the handler's couch and located the bug. He had forgotten that it was there from a previous series of tests. The dog was right, the bug was still alive and it was a few months of forgetfulness on the handler's part. The bugs can be at the ceiling and the dog will alert from the ground. The dead bug in the spider web was dead and shouldn't have alerted the dog - no live odor.

  6. Canuck

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Oct 22 2013 13:11:53
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    Wanted to refer to a prior thread with good input from Doug Summers on the subject. Also remember, scent is heavier than air and pools at the lowest level - as Lous said a K9 should be able to pick it up (helps to have doors/windows closed and all fans turned off) and alert. Some dogs's behaviour will even indicate the scent origin is higher up. Sheree

    Sheree Swindle / certified K9-assisted bed bug inspector
  7. loubugs

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Oct 22 2013 13:21:59
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    as Lous said a K9 should be able to pick it up (helps to have doors/windows closed and all fans turned off) and alert. Some dogs's behaviour will even indicate the scent origin is higher up.

    True, the dogs will change their behavior when they pick up on an odor that has been taught them for which they are rewarded. I've always wondered why people say to shut doors/windows, shut off fans when when these are open or on currents are set up that actually funnel canine searching behavior to follow the current or go against it to the origin. Maybe if no current, then the amount lessens if it is going out of the window; maybe depends on placement and pathway out of a window rather than down toward the ground?

  8. potomaccanine

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 24 2013 5:09:52
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    A dog should be able to distinguish the odor difference after a few hours of a bug dying. Depending on the level of the infestation, there may be residual odor that the dog could show interest on, but at that point, when the dog indicates unusual behavior, it falls on the handler to follow what SHOULD be proper procedure and do a complete and thorough visual inspection.
    I don't see a big need for the windows to be closed unless you are having gale force winds outside. I don't think the fans need to be turned off unless they are on high.

  9. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 24 2013 5:57:38
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    loubugs - 1 day ago  » 

    as Lous said a K9 should be able to pick it up (helps to have doors/windows closed and all fans turned off) and alert. Some dogs's behaviour will even indicate the scent origin is higher up.

    True, the dogs will change their behavior when they pick up on an odor that has been taught them for which they are rewarded. I've always wondered why people say to shut doors/windows, shut off fans when when these are open or on currents are set up that actually funnel canine searching behavior to follow the current or go against it to the origin. Maybe if no current, then the amount lessens if it is going out of the window; maybe depends on placement and pathway out of a window rather than down toward the ground?

    Hi Lou,

    On the occasions where I have been able to scent detect single bedbugs without the use of a K9 it has always been in rooms with little or no air flow and then the assessment was made by poking my nose through the door when it was only open a small amount.

    I have also passed into scent cones in the street where I have been able to use the air current to track back to the source of the infestation.

    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.
  10. help_me

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 24 2013 6:58:06
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    Where the hell are some of these people with their dogs and how much do they charge? I get so tired of discussions about stellar examples of these exceptionally trained dogs and handlers vs. the ones that get trashed often for not being up to par. How can we find the good ones vs. the ones who are just out to make a quick buck? People would get help a lot faster if there was less talk and more answer sometimes. Let's stop speculating about the differences between well trained dogs and exterminators and those who are not as good and just say recommend what to do and where to find help. It can really psyche someone out to read post after post where yeah you can get help BUT... you're probably going to be stuck going down a long endless road and spend all your money hiring goodness knows who from who knows where to basically achieve nothing. In short the overall impression I have had over the last three years or so in coming here is that everyone is basically up the creek without a paddle. There are no answers, just debates.

  11. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 24 2013 7:11:13
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    Hi,

    There is a K9 FAQ here:

    http://bedbugger.com/2010/03/10/bed-bug-sniffing-dogs-what-you-need-to-know/

    And a check list to help you make sure the service is professional and works to the best standards here:

    http://www.bedbugbeware.com/k9scentdetection.html

    Respectfully there are answers but sadly they are not universally accessible but that can also be said for healthcare, education, jobs and many other aspects of life.

    David

  12. loubugs

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 24 2013 10:30:48
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    On the occasions where I have been able to scent detect single bedbugs without the use of a K9 it has always been in rooms with little or no air flow and then the assessment was made by poking my nose through the door when it was only open a small amount.
    I have also passed into scent cones in the street where I have been able to use the air current to track back to the source of the infestation.

    Yes, because our noses aren't as efficient as the dog's, the least amount of airflow the better to help us pick up on the odor - The odor is concentrated. And you have passed scent cones in the street, and then you can track them back to the source. All makes sense. The dog is tracking the scent cone in the home where windows are open.
    Like you, I've also done it. You just have to learn the scents.

  13. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 24 2013 10:41:20
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    loubugs - 9 minutes ago  » 
    [quote]
    Like you, I've also done it. You just have to learn the scents.

    I may have to get a special badge made for members of that Elite club. Now we just need to get the rest of the industry to understand that exceptional things are possible if you start with the right raw materials.

    David


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