If you reside in most areas of Southern California, greater Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington areas, your choice is simple, call Green Dog! If however, you are in an area we don’t service and you wish to hire a K9 team for your bed bug inspections needs, you are going to have to do a little checking and investigating.
First, hire a K9 team that holds a current certification with an independent third-party testing organization. We annually certify with WDDO. Their test is known to be the most difficult because they use a random double-blind testing methodology. You can find teams that hold a current certificate through their website. NESDCA is probably the largest organization for certifying bed bug detection teams. There website also shows currently certified teams under their test.
Second, just because they are holding a current certification doesn’t make them legal to work! Many states require K9 inspection services to be licensed as pest control. Arizona, California, Nevada, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, D.C. among them. When in doubt call your local Agricultural or Pest Control Board. In California you should check the Department of Consumer Affairs website: https://search.dca.ca.gov/ Just type in the Business Name and they should come up. If not, they are not legal to work.
Third, ask questions! Number one question you should ask, “Do you verify your dog’s alerts”? If the answer is no, hang up and try another company. Not only is it important for you as a consumer to make sure a live bed bug is found, it is also important in the maintenance training of a K9 team. If a K9 company tells me they don’t verify their alerts I know they are not properly training their dogs.
There are times when we get an alert and we can’t verify the existence of live bed bugs due to the location of the alert. Recliners or mechanical beds can be difficult or under baseboards or carpet tacks, but in general we are able to find live bed bugs when we have an alert.
Fourth, ask what you get with the inspection and what you need to do prior and during their inspection. You should get a written report, some reports will include photos of what is found. You’ll also more than likely receive some type of prep sheet. Read it carefully and follow it for optimal results. Not every K9 company is going to have the same type of prep requirement. We ask tenants to do very little other than making sure it is safe for the dogs to enter.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for references!