Over the past 20 to 30 years, bed bugs have become a growing problem all over the world, especially in hotels. Small, oval brown insects, they live on the blood of animals, including humans. Their bites can result in skin rashes, blisters, allergic symptoms and, not surprisingly, psychological effects (specifically anxiety, stress and insomnia). Bed bugs are found in various parts of beds, such as mattresses, box springs and folded areas, hence the name “bed bugs.” But they can also conceal themselves behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, picture frames and electrical switch plates, as well as on stuffed animals, wheelchairs, planes, trains, automobiles, buses and purses, and in furniture. Pretty much any place or thing that has small cracks or crevices.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, bed bugs love to “hitch a ride” on things like luggage and clothing, which means if you’re in a hotel with bed bugs, you may bring bed bugs into your home. On top of that, they reproduce quickly (once inseminated, a female will lay between 1 and 5 eggs per day for the next 6 to 8 weeks. Each egg takes about 6 to 17 days to hatch). So once bed bugs are established, they’re very difficult to get rid of.
For the past several years, Orkin, one of the largest nationwide pest control companies in the country, has put out an annual list of the 50 cities in the U.S. that have the most bed bugs. The list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from, in this case, December 1, 2018 – November 30, 2019.
Washington D.C. has earned the distinction of the most bed bugs, pushing Baltimore out of 1st place (Baltimore had been #1 for the past 3 years. Lucky them).
Here are the top 10 cities for 2020:
- Washington D.C.
- Los Angeles
- Columbus, OH
- New York
To help with comparisons, here are the top 10 from the previous 4 years:
|2||Washington D.C.||Washington D.C.||Washington D.C.||Detroit|
|4||Los Angeles||Los Angeles||New York||Los Angeles|
|5||Columbus, OH||Columbus, OH||Columbus, OH||Cleveland-Akron-Canton|
|6||New York||Cincinnati||Los Angeles||Dallas-Ft. Worth|
|10||Philadelphia||Dallas-Ft. Worth||SF-Oakland-San Jose||Dayton|
It’s easy to see that, especially from 2017 onward, the same cities are having the same big problem with bed bugs. But then again, it doesn’t appear that city health departments are doing much to mitigate the problem…
Washington D.C.: Their website provides information about what bed bugs are, but not what to do about them.
Baltimore: “The Baltimore City Health Department does not have any bed bug mitigation programs; however, we are providing informational materials on bedbugs as a resource for the public.” That same page, however, doesn’t tell you where to get said informational materials.
Chicago: Appears to have programs in place but really, they’ve been #3 for the past 4 years. Maybe they need to do something else?
To help with comparisons, here are their lists from the past several years:
Bed bugs are a big problem, especially for hotels. In fact, as per a 2017 Orkin press release, 8 out of 10 hotels had dealt with bed bugs in the previous year and 5 out of 10 had had to deal with lawsuits because of them. Yet 82% of hoteliers agreed that it was cheaper to prevent bed bugs that to treat bed bug issues.
Granted, Orkin’s data was based on both residential and commercial treatments, but I’d hope that hoteliers would be doing as much as they could in terms of prevention.
How to prevent bed bugs & what to do if you get them
I could go into a whole, long post about that, but we know someone who, unfortunately, recently had to go through that whole mess. Click here to read what happened when Summer inadvertently brought bedbugs home with her (from a nice hotel – it’s not just cheap hotels, y’all), what she had to go through to get rid of them from her house, and what she’s doing to ensure she never has to deal with them again.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary