Can Dogs Smell Alive and Dead Bed Bugs?


The world is increasingly relying on highly skilled dogs to detect various substances, and now they are being trained to sniff out bed bugs. These blood-sucking insects, which infest beds and can ruin the reputation of hotels and hostels, are difficult to detect. However, dogs with their exceptional sense of smell are able to locate these pests and alert their handlers to take action.

Signs a Dog is Detecting Bed-Bugs:

Dogs are able to detect bed bugs through their keen sense of smell and hearing. While bed bugs can leave brown or black spots on a mattress, they are generally difficult to find. Dogs are able to save people money by pinpointing the infested areas, allowing for targeted extermination rather than fumigating the entire space. Toby, a rescue Beagle who works for Round The Clock Pest Control, is a celebrity in the field of bed bug detection.

Body Language:

When dogs are on the job, they exhibit certain behaviors to indicate that they have found bed bugs. These behaviors include jumping up, wagging their tail, pacing, sniffing, and play bowing. Other signs that a dog can smell bed bugs include sitting to indicate they have found the bugs, pointing with their nose, and pawing at the infested areas.

History of Bed Bug-Sniffing Dogs:

Bed bugs have a long history and have been a problem for centuries. They entered the United States with early colonists and became more prevalent in the 90s due to increased travel. The use of DDT as a pesticide was banned in the 70s, leading to a resurgence of bed bugs. This prompted the training of bed bug detector dogs, such as Cruiser, a rescue pup who was able to detect bed bugs in a baby’s crib.

Science Behind Dogs Sensing Dead and Alive Bed Bugs:

Studies have shown that dogs have a high accuracy rate in detecting bed bugs and differentiating between live and dead bugs. Beagles are popular choices for bed bug detection due to their compact size and superior sense of smell. Their brains are designed for processing smells, and they have significantly more smell receptors than humans.

Training Dogs to Smell Dead or Alive Bed Bugs:

Training dogs to be bed bug detectors starts at around 8 to 12 months of age. Dogs are often sourced from shelters and undergo basic obedience training before being trained to detect bed bugs. Positive reinforcement is used in training, and no force or punishment tactics are employed. The dogs and their handlers are tested by organizations like the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association to ensure their proficiency in detecting bed bugs.


Bed bug-sniffing dogs are becoming increasingly important in the fight against these pests. Their exceptional sense of smell allows them to detect bed bugs in various settings, which saves time and money in the extermination process. With proper training, dogs are able to accurately locate live and dead bed bugs, as well as their eggs and feces. Their role in detecting bed bugs is crucial in maintaining the cleanliness and reputation of hotels, homes, and other establishments.

“Bed bug sniffer-dogs: the heroes of the hospitality industry.”

Tips & Things to Know

1️⃣ Bed bug-sniffing dogs are a valuable and efficient tool in detecting infestations. They can pinpoint the location of the bugs, saving time and money on extermination.

2️⃣ Dogs have specific body language cues that indicate they are detecting bed bugs, such as jumping up, wagging their tail, pacing, sniffing, and play bowing.

3️⃣ Beagles are a popular breed for bed bug detection due to their compact size and excellent sense of smell. They can differentiate between live and dead bugs with a high level of accuracy. Training for bed bug detection starts at around 8 to 12 months and involves positive reinforcement techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions, Answered ✅

1. What are bed bug sniffer-dogs trained to detect?
– Bed bug sniffer-dogs are trained to detect bed bugs, including live bugs, eggs, and feces.

2. How do bed bug sniffer-dogs save time and money?
– Bed bug sniffer-dogs can pinpoint the exact location of an infestation, allowing for targeted extermination instead of treating the entire space. This saves time and money for hotels and other accommodations.

3. What are some signs that a dog is detecting bed bugs?
– Signs that a dog is detecting bed bugs include jumping up, wagging their tail, pacing, sniffing, and play bowing.

4. What is the history of bed bug-sniffing dogs?
– Bed bug-sniffing dogs have been used since the 2010s to detect these pests. They became more popular as bed bugs made a resurgence in the modern age, and traditional insecticides became less effective.

5. How accurate are bed bug sniffer-dogs at detecting bed bugs?
– According to a study, bed bug sniffer-dogs have an accuracy rating of 95.7% in detecting bed bugs and their eggs. They are also able to differentiate between live and dead bed bugs.

Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy is a seasoned writer and an enthusiast of dog breed expertise. Having dedicated over 5 years to studying the intricacies of different dog breeds and their unique characteristics. His profound insights and love for our four-legged friends have made him an invaluable part of our team.

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