In 2009, only the beginning of the nationwide pandemic, bed bug sniffing dogs only numbered roughly 300 in the U.S.. By 2012 it was 500. Now (2014) there are those claiming 11+ certified in one city alone and the total U.S. population is well over 1800. I 'll save all the 1000's of DIY products that don't work for another posting. I'm focusing solely on K-9 bed bug detection here and how you, the consumer, can protect yourself.
When a consumer is concerned that they may have bed bugs and decide to call on a so-called certified k-9 team, they do a google search and BAM, there they are. But seriously, other than the claims made on a website or social media, the consumer has nothing to go on and decides on one of them. VERY few states are regulating K-9 bed bug detection, and as a result there are tons of unethical pet owners and others using so-called "certified dogs" to come to your home or business and inspect, charging anywhere from $150.00 and up. Granted, there may be those dogs that have been trained, but how much training has the handler had on bed bugs?? If it's limited, say, a seminar or two, can he/she really show the dog where to search? Unless the handler has extensive training on the biology and the habits of this bug, they can't. At that point they rely solely on the dog to "show" them.....A coin toss at best.
The state of Maryland has recently implemented legislation to curb the unethical business practices of "anyone with a dog making claims" on bed bug detection. I applaud this legislation and hope that the state of Virginia will soon follow. In the mean time, in an effort to help protect the consumer from scams, all I can do is create pages like this for you to consider and decide for yourselves. Below are FACTS from the NPMA and other highly recognized bed bug dog K-9 experts, as well as quotes from websites that you should seriously consider BEFORE your decision.
As a bed bug dog trainer and a long time vet in the bed bug industry (27+ years), I'm constantly doing research and analysis on bed bugs, treatment methods and of course dog training. I recently came across this statement made on a website:
"Our K-9 division has also set the bar for the industry by establishing the first specialized K-9 team utilizing multiple K-9's CERTIFIED as either Evidence Dogs or as Live Only Dogs. This means we have a K-9 division made up of multiple Evidence Dogs that have been trained to locate both live bed bugs and viable bed bug eggs as well as any evidence of bed bug activity which would include cast skins, bed bug fecal matter and dead bed bugs. These are the K-9 teams that first respond when a K-9 inspection is called for."
After reading this statement I became VERY concerned. I decided to call a few close contacts that are regarded as the leading experts in the bed bug industry. One of them, Dr. Phil Koehler of the University of Florida is the original person that completed the VERY popular study on the accuracy of bed bug dogs. His comment after reading this statement is this: "Why on earth would anyone train a dog to pick up on bed bug evidence, other than to create revenue? If a customer calls for a canine inspection to see if they solved the problem themselves, the dog will alert, causing more panic."........."
Folks, this only a VERY SMALL example out there. Until legislation is in place to keep these things from happening, you need to educate yourselves.
Start with this article from the NPMA that clearly defines what you need. Best Practices For Bed Bugs (http://www.professionalbbc.com/
Professional Bed Bug Control
Professional Bed Bug Control