Detection of low-level bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), infestations is essential for early intervention, confirming eradication of infestations, and reducing the spread of bed bugs. Despite the importance of detection, few effective tools and methods exist for detecting low numbers of bed bugs. Scent dogs were developed as a tool for detecting bed bugs in recent years. However, there are no data demonstrating the reliability of trained canines under natural field conditions. We evaluated the accuracy of 11 canine detection teams in naturally infested apartments. All handlers believed their dogs could detect infestations at a very high rate (≥95%). In three separate experiments, the mean (min, max) detection rate was 44 (10-100)% and mean false-positive rate was 15 (0-57)%. The false-positive rate was positively correlated with the detection rate. The probability of a bed bug infestation being detected by trained canines was not associated with the level of bed bug infestations. Four canine detection teams evaluated on multiple days were inconsistent in their ability to detect bed bugs and exhibited significant variance in accuracy of detection between inspections on different days. There was no significant relationship between the team's experience or certification status of teams and the detection rates. These data suggest that more research is needed to understand factors affecting the accuracy of canine teams for bed bug detection in naturally infested apartments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science
- Canine scent detection
- Cimex lectularius