News · Safety

Orkin releases new Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list

by Brianna Crandall — January 9, 2017 — Baltimore tops this year’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list, just released by pest control provider Orkin. In the six years Orkin has released the bed bug city rankings, this is the first time Baltimore has made the top five, moving up nine spots since last year. Four metro regions — Las Vegas, Portland, Salt Lake City and Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem — made the list for the first time this year.

The list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2015, to November 30, 2016. This ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

  1. Baltimore, MD (+9)
  2. Washington, DC (+1)
  3. Chicago, IL (-2)
  4. New York, NY
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. Los Angeles, CA (-4)
  7. Detroit, MI
  8. Cincinnati, OH
  9. Philadelphia, PA (-3)
  10. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA (+4)
  11. Richmond-Petersburg, VA (-2)
  12. Raleigh-Durham, NC (-1)
  13. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, OH (-1)
  14. Indianapolis, IN (+1)
  15. Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX (-2)
  16. Atlanta, GA (+3)
  17. Houston, TX
  18. Buffalo, NY (+2)
  19. Charlotte, NC (-3)
  20. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA (+10)
  21. Knoxville, TN (+3)
  22. Denver, CO (-4)
  23. Nashville, TN (-1)
  24. Pittsburgh, PA (+5)
  25. Greenville-Spartanburg, SC-Asheville, NC (-4)
  26. Phoenix, AZ (-3)
  27. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI (+5)
  28. Boston, MA (-3)
  29. Milwaukee, WI (-3)
  30. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, IL (+12)
  31. Hartford-New Haven, CT (+3)
  32. Dayton, OH (-4)
  33. Omaha, NE (+3)
  34. Seattle-Tacoma, WA (-6)
  35. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL (-4)
  36. Charleston-Huntington, WV (-1)
  37. St. Louis, MO (+3)
  38. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, IA (+3)
  39. Myrtle Beach-Florence, SC (+11)
  40. Syracuse, NY (+6)
  41. Louisville, KY (-2)
  42. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, NC
  43. Lexington, KY (-10)
  44. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL (-6)
  45. Kansas City, MO (-1)
  46. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL (-3)
  47. Salt Lake City, UT
  48. Honolulu, HI
  49. Las Vegas, NV
  50. Portland, OR

“We have more people affected by bed bugs in the United States now than ever before,” says Orkin Entomologist and Director of Technical Services Ron Harrison, Ph.D., adding that bed bugs are a growing issue. “They were virtually unheard of in the U.S. 10 years ago,” he says.

According to a 2015 Bugs without Borders Survey by the National Pest Management Association, nearly all (99.6 percent) of pest professionals nationwide have treated bed bugs in the past year, up from five, 10 and 15 years ago.

Bed bugs are great hitchhikers because they travel from place to place with ease, including luggage, purses and other belongings, notes Orkin. Bed bugs can be found anywhere, from single-family homes, apartments and hotels, to public places like movie theaters, public transit and libraries and offices.

“Anyone can get bed bugs in their home. They are not a sign of uncleanliness. Bed bugs only need blood to survive. We have treated for bed bugs in everything from million-dollar homes to public housing,” Harrison states.

Bed bugs can be difficult to detect and treat because of their small size and ability to survive up to a year without feeding. They are about the size of an apple seed when fully grown, and can hide around seams of a mattress, behind headboards and in cracks and crevices, usually within a five-foot radius of the bed. The first signs of a bed bug infestation are often the bed bugs themselves or small dark stains bed bugs can leave behind.

“People may have bed bugs and not know it, because many people have no physical reaction to bed bug bites,” Harrison adds. “That’s why it’s important for people everywhere to inspect for bed bugs regularly.”

While the 50 metro areas listed above required the most treatments for bed bugs in 2016, Orkin has treated for bed bugs in all 50 states and around the world. To help detect and prevent bed bugs, Orkin recommends residence/hospitality facility owners and travelers do the following:

In a residential or hospitality facility:

  • Inspect for signs of bed bugs regularly, perhaps weekly. Check locations where bed bugs hide during the day, including mattress seams and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets and picture frames.
  • Decrease clutter to make bed bug inspections and detection much easier.
  • Inspect all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside.
  • Dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.

During travel, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P to inspect for bed bugs:

  • Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for black or brown spots on any furniture.
  • Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, bedskirt and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest place is in the bathroom.
  • Examine luggage while repacking and upon return from a trip.
  • Place all dryer-safe clothing from luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after return.

Bed bugs can quickly become a major problem, as they can spread from room to room if undetected and allowed to multiply. Anyone who suspects a bed bug infestation should contact a pest management professional immediately, says Orkin.

For more information about bed bug detection and prevention, visit Orkin’s Bed Bugs Web page, or read Orkin’s new 100 Facts about Bed Bugs e-book.