Cat killing bug

Cats Trained to Kill Bed Bugs

New Research Shows Cats Are Future of Fight Against Bed Bugs

Over the last several years the role that animals play in fighting bed bugs has grown. Bed bug sniffing dogs, like the beagles in this news story out of the Bay Area, are a great way to determine whether or not you have an infestation. Bed bugs have a very distinct odor that animals can easily pick up on – as can humans if the infestation is severe enough. As bed bugs become more resistant to pesticides and new methods of treatment are investigated it looks like more animals are able to help. Alongside other animals that are being trained to sniff them out, such as teacup pigs, new research out of the University of Washington – SLU campus has revealed a promising new pest control method: cats trained to hunt and kill bed bugs.

Cat killing bug

Cats: nature’s perfect bug killers!

It may sound outlandish at first, but the principle is simple. Researchers started by rewarding the cats with a special extra-potent strain of catnip for chasing laser pointer dots, which any cat owner knows is an easy thing to get cats to do. Then, they introduced bed bugs to the lab and used the lasers to show the cats where they were. Eventually they were able to stop using any laser signals altogether and the cats would chase the bed bugs and smash them with their paws in order to receive their reward. As cats also have a great sense of smell the final stage of the training was setting them loose in infested homes to see if they would find the bugs – and they did.

cat high catnip

This kitty is amped up and ready to kill.

Although the training took some time and required access to specific cat-nip varieties the papers authors, A. F. Broma and L. Šega, are confident that the process is scale-able and that soon pest control technicians will be able to have their own trained attack cats just as they currently have canine detection services. From start-to-finish the training process takes about four weeks, although some cats are unable to complete their training as they find the allure of the catnip too much to resist and develop what Šega described as “substance issues”. For those cats a quick detox and return to life as a happy house cat is best, but about 75% of the cats tested went on to become fierce bed bug killers.

Since ZappBug is headquartered nearby, we took a visit to see their new batch of trainees in action. Check out the results below, and stay tuned for more updates as cat pest control technicians become a nationwide phenomenon!

April Fools

Happy April Fools Day from all of us here at ZappBug!

14 replies
  1. Kenneth Henneberry
    Kenneth Henneberry says:

    This article fooled me at first. But I am not surprised to hear from people that they have gotten bed bugs. I have seen my cats go after bugs and spiders and be successful. Several annoying flies were taken out and other insects. Of course they got their share of mice also. They are very persistent hunters and do not give up. Anything that annoys them they will hunt down. Another reason to love them.

  2. Roary
    Roary says:

    I thought this was real. I was ready to sign my cat up for the program.

    She pretty much just detests bugs in general. She has been earning a fairly substantial living just ridding my house of spiders and ensuring there is not a mouse within a full kilometer of our dwelling.

    I suppose bed bugs might be on that list. Bedbugs in semi trucks is a rather common issue for drivers that like cheap motels that never throw away their mattresses.

    If you lay in bed awake for an hour or two and it feels like something is sticking you with needles in random locations then you are either a major booze hound or you have bedbugs. These little critters are top of the suspect list. Throw that nasty mattress out. Probably bedding too.

    The only thing I can think of that are worse than bed bugs are German cock-a-roaches. The only way I know of to get rid of cockroaches is to bulldoze your dwelling and then shoot the little blighters with an AK as they attempt to flee. Flea, get it? Flee. FAF, roflol. Gosh I’m funny.

  3. Holly
    Holly says:

    Didnt no they were here bike at Stacy sees them every time I found three of them I feel so there’s no words but why cats get them

  4. Nina
    Nina says:

    If I don’t have a cat,I will never don’t know who is bed bug.Thank you to my cat Muffins.
    Love you Muff Muff

  5. emvee
    emvee says:

    This might be an April Fool’s article but I have a cat that finds bed bugs and alerts me to them. It is not a joke either. I recently found bed bugs in my home and have been working on ridding my house of them. Unfortunately this takes time. My little orange tabby cat, Moggie, is another tool in the fight against them. All I have to do is watch him and I can tell when he sees one. Typically the bug is running across the carpet coming right for me. With Moggie’s help I am able to further decrease the bed bug population one day at a time. It’s quite amazing!

  6. Kiri
    Kiri says:

    My new cat Raeny has been helping me find bedbugs while I sace up money for an exterminator.

    She goes around the house and will suddenly stop and begin meowing and pawing if she finds one. When I come, she will meiw again and wait by my feet until it’s dead. Then go over and eat it!

    I tried several times to get her tovstop eating ir but, I learned they dint carry disease so I smjust said ‘well.. I guess it’s okay then’

    She is now my Bedbug eyes and will investigate my bed before I get in (literally, she will walk and peek in every nook for them).

    I think this should be made factual as they are smart animals.

  7. DeRon
    DeRon says:

    So me and my girlfriend have two cats I used to hate these cats lol names are rillo and marley as in cigarillo and bob marley lol assode from that we are in the middle of our battle with bed bugs while my girlfriend was away at work I was on my crazed bed bug hunt after several bombings to our apartment in attempt to rid of the pest .They where still biting. So I went nuts with a flashlight and lighter to burn them one by one ,plastic baggie to put the bodies in ,tweezers to grab them. I was on the hunt, a crazed mad man. Rillo couldn’t help but notice my behavior lol But she seemed to know what I was looking for she became as parinoid as me looking around sniffing clawing etc we where a team lol I found her in the kitchen by the counter .she had one cornered clawing at it then I stepped to back her up. BAM BAM BAM. I killed it .From that day forward she has been my 2nd pare of eyes. So im a living witness to this cats CAN help with bed bugs.


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