Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs


Barney the basset hound wasn’t born to be a bug sniffer.David Quinn, a five-year veteran of the pest control industry with a soft spot for dogs, initially acquired Barney the basset hound from a puppy-mill pet shop after watching him grow larger and less sell worthy over the course of a few months.

Shortly after adopting Barney, Quinn heard about the skills that certain dogs (especially bloodhounds, a breed to which Barney is closely related) have for detecting termites and bedbugs. Barney’s long ears, low-to-the-ground frame and loose jowls make him a natural bug sniffer. Bedbugs, which feast exclusively on human blood, have a distinctive odor that is barely detectable to people but glaringly obvious to dogs like Barney. According to David Quinn’s company website, DQ Pest Control, canines are able to sense odors “at concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans” and “can identify distinct smells between 1,000 to 10,000 times more effectively” than we can.

After Quinn realized his new best friend might make a wonderful coworker, he sent Barney to one of the most acclaimed scent-hound trainers in the country, David Latimer — the owner of the Forensic & Scientific Investigations Canine Academy and president of the World Detector Dog Organization. Barney spent six months doing termite and bedbug detection training in Alabama before being joined by Quinn for another few months of training as a team. Barney is now Quinn’s partner at DQ Pest Control and sniffs out the nasty critters.

An especially nefarious pest, bedbugs have made a huge global resurgence — especially in dense, transient cities like New York, where Quinn is based. According to a recent New York Times article, calls to the city government’s 311 help line with bedbug complaints increased 19 percent over the last year and, per the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, that tops a 33 percent climb during the previous year.

Luckily, the recent use of sniffer dogs, like Barney, has helped pest control pros pinpoint infestations and has enabled safer sprays to be applied more judiciously. As well, dogs can give an “all clear” when a home has been successfully treated — a huge comfort to residents who have been under siege by the bloodsucking bugs.

These days, DQ Pest Control has at least one call a week for sniffing work, which costs $300 per inspection — a bargain considering what indiscriminate pest control can cost — and the work is increasing.

The best thing about his coworker, says Quinn, is that he is scrupulously honest. “A dog works for love and affection, not money,” he tells Paw Nation. Barney, standing at his best friend’s feet, agrees with an enthusiastic bark. “And I can always trust Barney to do the job right every single time, unlike most people!”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: