Bed bug Detection K9 dogs #whatbugsme
Knoxville Pest Control
We have all heard of bomb and drug sniffing dogs but have you heard of a bed bug sniffing dog? Today that is a reality. Bed bugs are sometimes tough to find even for a seasoned veteran like me and even then, my visual hunt for these little boogers could take a long time and mean I have to take the bed apart and turn things over. This can be very invasive to the customer. Enter the K9 scent detection team. A dog can smell things we are just not capable of. In short, it is amazing what they can find.
As a human, I sport about 5-10 million olfactory cells. Rover, on the other hand
touts 125 million plus! Have you ever noticed your dog start to sniff the air for apparently no reason? He has got a whiff of something we could never smell. The canine nose is divided into 2 sections lined with ciliated epithelial cells that move secretions and foreign bodies away with a certain direction of rapid, wave-like motions from the hair-like structures that cover the surfaces. Several cilia extend from each of the sensory cells into the nasal cavity, and each of these cilia contains many scent receptors. After the cell receptors trap the smells, each cell has several (10 to 100) axons that deliver their messages back through the ethmoid bone directly to the olfactory bulb of the brain. To process the smell, the dog can dedicate up to one-third of its brain power to scent. To make this amazing animal even better they have a Jacobson’s organ in the nasal cavity. The Jacobson’s Organ is a “sense of smell” receptor that is actually not receptive to ordinary odors. Rather, the scenting nerve cells of the organ are quite different from those in normal olfactory tissue in that they respond to a range of substances that have large molecules, but often no detectable odor. So they can smell something that doesn’t even smell! My mind was blown when I read that from the whole dog journal.
All of this science is what allows a K9 handler to train a dog to find certain smells. They can even find dead bodies underwater. Let’s be clear here, it is not only the dog that we are talking about. This is a K9 team of the dog and the handler. The handler directs the dog with commands they have ingrained through many many hours of training. That training is just as much for the handler as for the dog as he has to control and read the dogs reactions. Adam Marriott is the main bed bug scent detection K9 handler for First Defense K9. He currently uses 2 dogs on each inspection, K9 Dunya and K9 Sensa. Adam told me that he does this to verify the inspections. Each dog reacts a little different when they find bed bugs and Adam needs to understand what they are telling him. Both of these beautiful dogs are Belgian Malinois, a breed that has been used in wars as far back as WWI. They currently serve several roles in the U.S. Military including with the Navy Seals. They are a work-horse, friend, and protector of man,
K-9 bed bug detection dogs use their keen sense of smell to detect the odor of live bed bugs and viable bed bug eggs. The First Defense K9 dogs are trained on a food/or toy reward philosophy, similar to cadaver and police dogs. This means that if the K-9 “alerts” (a special action specific to each individual dog’s training) it will be rewarded with a toy by the First Defense K9 handler. The area or areas where the K-9 “alerts” will be documented for further inspection by the handler. That’s when we step in with our entomological knowledge to verify again and offer solutions to the customer. For more information click
Phoenix uses these detection services as part of all our bed bug services to ensure we achieved elimination or to help us durring the process of elimination. Some K9 teams out there are employed by the pest control company. Phoenix and 1st Defense K9 are separate companies. We do this so the K9 teams have no “dog” in the fight. They get paid whether they find bed bugs or not. This is just another layer of certainty you can trust when we give you the all clear. As you can imagine, we are at a very high risk of taking bed bugs home since we work with them every day. We use the dogs ourselves to ensure this does not happen. Our wives feel better about it too. And as you know…. happy wife… happy life.
Adam and 1st Defense K9 also provide inspections services for hotels, vacation homes, and any other facilities suspected of bed bug infestation. When you come home from vacation, let the team come inspect your luggage before you bring it in the house. This could save you thousands of dollars! Besides the bed bug work they do, 1st Defense also provides obedience classes, protection training, narcotics inspections, PTSD service dogs, and also has puppies for sale. I bet a new puppy would make the wife happy as well. What do you think?
Phoenix Pest Control serves Knox and Blount counties in East Tennessee.
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