In recent years, the spread of bed bugs has become a worldwide problem, and is considered to be one of the hardest pests to control. It is an issue that can be exhausting and cause an extreme amount of stress if left untreated. Given that a bed bug invasion can be greatly taxing in many aspects, homeowners should expect a great amount of care being put into the detection and treatment of the invaders. Many different methods have been invoked to detect and treat bed bugs, but a particularly popular one is a bed bug sniffing dog.
In 2008, the University of Florida Entomology department did a controlled experiment with dogs to determine their effectiveness and accuracy. The report concluded that the dogs had a 97.5 percent positive indication rate, with no false positives. It also concluded that if properly trained, dogs can be effective at detecting live bed bugs and viable bed bug eggs. While that may sound like a ringing endorsement for their widespread use, commercially they are not the best tool for detecting bed bugs. The experiment in Florida was controlled, and in the commercial environment there are many other factors that the dog could be reacting to that result in a false positive or no detection at all.
Also, there is no regulation or certification for dog trainers to follow. Hence, some may be better suited than others in the detection of bed bugs. In a residential setting, the degree to which they are reliable varies greatly, but almost never as accurate as advertised. So if you are presented with different bed bug treatment options, make sure you ask questions and do your research to ensure that you are receiving the best treatment possible.