What is a Bed Bug Dog?

Every day man’s best friend is hard at work helping us in the battle against bed bugs! Their amazingly sensitive nose makes them the ideal bed bug detection tool. Our bed bug dogs have been specially trained to detect bed bugs with amazing accuracy. They recognize the scent of live bed bugs and their eggs. They can differentiate between live and dead bugs and also between bed bugs and the debris they leave behind (cast off skins and feces).

Bed bug dogs have a level of detection accuracy that far surpasses conventional detection methods. Our K9 Inspection Team is faster and more reliable than any of the other methods.

Bed Bug Dog Accuracy

Many University studies have shown that trained bed bug dogs are much more accurate than a trained technician. Combine this with the speed & reliability of our bed bug dogs and you can see the obvious benefits of the Orkin Canada K9 teams.

Our K9 Inspection team dogs receive between 800 and 1000 hours of training before ever meeting their handler. The K9 and the handler are then paired together rand train as a team for another 40+ hours. At the end of the course, a Certified Master Trainer verifies that each canine team is capable of discriminating bed bug scents and issues certification.Once in the field our K9’s are tested every quarter and re-certified every year.

How Our K9 Inspection Team Works

Orkin Canada’s Bed Bug dog handler will sweep a room using their dog. The handler will guide the dog through the room letting the dog sniff for detection in every applicable area. Our bed bug dogs are trained to indicate when they have discovered a bed bug scent. Once a dog has alerted to a possible bed bug, the handler will make a visual inspection to confirm the dog’s findings.

Since a bed bug dog can inspect a room in minutes and a human inspection can take hours our K9 Inspection Team can save time and money. They can tell which rooms have bed bugs and which ones do not. This ensures treatments are conducted only in the necessary areas and that any bed bugs are detected before they can become a large infestation.

Follow Up Inspections

It can be difficult for a bed bug exterminator to ensure there are no live bugs during a follow-up inspection. Since our K9 Inspection Team dogs will only alert to the presence of live bed bugs they can determine whether or not the extermination effort was successful and avoid unnecessary further treatments.

A History of Orkin Canada’s K9 Service

With the recent resurgence of bed bugs, professional pest control services have not had difficulty exterminating bed bugs once we find them. The difficulty lies in being able to detect a small population of bed bugs before it becomes an infestation, and then, in confirming extermination of all bugs after a treatment has been completed. Essentially detecting them early is the key to a proper extermination process. Bed bugs are small and can hide in the smallest cracks and crevices and they reproduce at an alarming rate.

K9’s have been used in a variety of industries due to the efficiency of scent detection. Some industry examples that utilize K9 scent detection are: bomb detection, avalanche rescue, drug and firearm detection, K9 security and in helping people live their lives with the aid of a Seeing Eye dog.

In 2008 Orkin PCO Services, now Orkin Canada, invested in a K9 Bed Bug Detection program. This quickly proved to be an extremely accurate and efficient method compared to technician inspections, which did not require the use of other detection devices, keeping the service discreet. We now have K9 services available in the Vancouver, Edmonton and Ontario regions with expansion plans into all major cities in Canada.

Orkin Canada’s K9’s have been sourced through All Animal Productions in California. This academy is well respected both in the United States and Canada. The academy trains dogs for a variety of clientele in both public and private industries.

All K9’s have been paired with a long term primary handler and a secondary handler. The dogs live and work with their handlers. The K9’s motivation for detecting bed bugs is through a food reward. Essentially the K9 hunts for its food as it would by instinct. Throughout a work day the handler will strategically hide bed bug scents as confirmation of detection accuracy.

K9’s will continue to play a large role in the extermination of bed bugs and in many other industries for a variety of applications. Orkin Canada expects this to be a fast growing division due to the large demand for a proper bed bug detection and extermination process.

Types of K9 Bed Bug Detection Programs

K9 Pre-Scheduled Detection Program: The most efficient method to be proactive in identifying if you have bed bugs or not is to always be on the watch for them. On a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis we will search a section or your entire property for live bed bugs. Any activity areas will be noted and tenants will be notified to prepare for treatment.

On Demand Bed Bug Confirmations and Block Inspections: Instead of having a technician respond to the first call to confirm if there are bed bugs K9 services are faster, more accurate and can also be more cost effective compared to technician inspections.

Detection and On Demand Treatment: For situations that require immediate response for bed bug confirmation & extermination. Orkin Canada will deploy the K9 Service with additional pest technician. The K9 will alert to an infested area which will then be quarantined by the technician and treated on that service. Depending on the treatment and level of infestation a second visit may be required.

Detection and preventative treatment: For situations that require long term reassurance and a proactive approach to bed bug extermination. Orkin Canada will go through a section or the full facility with the K9 to confirm if there is any activity. If the K9 alerts to activity we will recommend preparing that area for full treatment. All other areas will have preventive pest treatments.

Other Applications: Our K9’s have been used in a variety of unique and creative ways. They have been used to detect bugs in taxi cabs, hotels, airplanes, trains, food courts, manufacturing plants and many other types of properties, both solely and as a part of a team program. We require an initial tour of most facilities before recommending a program.

Reporting: One of the greatest pieces of information you will receive after the service is a report called “Snap Shot”. This will give you a full picture of exactly what is happening in your building. The report will include which units do and do not have bed bugs and the level of infestation, which units have sanitation or “clutter” issues that may hamper treatment and which tenants are cooperating with the program and which are not. A sample report is included in this package.

K9 Safety: The K9 Handler will always inspect an area before the K9 can enter. The K9 cannot be taken into areas that have had recent treatments. There are other safety protocols which the handler must abide by. The handler has the right to refuse inspection in areas he deems “not safe” for the K9 to enter. This service is meant to be used as a first response tool in the bed bug management process. Both chemical and non-chemical bed bug treatments are available.


According to a report prepared by the Institute for Biological Detection Systems (IBDS) of Auburn University (Auburn, AL), dogs have the following capabilities:
  • Sensitivity: Documented limits of olfactory detection for the dog range from tens of parts per billion to 500 parts per trillion.
  • Discrimination: Dogs are extremely good at discriminating a target vapour from non-target vapours that are also present, even at relatively high concentrations of non-target odours.
  • Odour Signatures: When being trained to detect a substance, dogs learn to alert to one or two of its most abundant vapour compounds.
  • Multiple Odour Discriminations: Dogs can easily learn as many as ten odour discriminations.


Have more questions about bed bugs? Contact us today for more information.