Skepticism over new handheld bed bug "sniffer" -- is it really as good as a dog's nose?

By Teri Karush Rogers | May 24, 2011 - 3:55PM 

While we're on the topic of bed bugs today, don't get too excited just yet about the imminent debut of a handheld $200 bed bug sniffer that claims to "pinpoint bedbugs to within one square inch, from a distance three times as far away as a dog could," according to Popular Science blog, which handed it an award for innovation.  But the Bed Bug Detective device is raising considerable skepticism on, a trusted resource for bed bug debuggery.

"Is the science behind the Bed Bug Detective — that bed bugs (and their hard to detect and eradicate eggs) can be detected by their trail of carbon dioxide, methane and pheromones — valid?" asks Bedbugger. "Are we witnessing a breakthrough product? Or something useful, but limited in ability (note that similar termite CO2 detectors exist which can only detect insects at 6 inches or less and at far greater cost)?" quotes the reaction of one of the world's top bed-bug fighters, London-based David Cain: "It is feasible to make an electronic nose for bedbugs," says Cain, "but the detector would need to be based on a GC/MS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer) and if you had not already guessed they are not cheap and certainly not hand held."


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