Bed bugs have been a scourge to man for well over 3,500 years. Studies show they parasitized bats first, and then moved on to humans, where they lived in the same caves where civilization began. Their fossils have even been found at ancient archaeological sites.
Over the past 30 years or so, bed bugs have become a growing problem all over the world, especially in hotels. Tiny, oval brown insects, they live on the blood of animals, including, of course, humans. Their bites often cause skin rashes, blisters, allergic symptoms and, not surprisingly, psychological effects such as 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, suitcases and purses, as well as in furniture. Pretty much any place or thing that has small cracks or crevices can be an adequate hiding place for bed bugs.
For the past several years, Orkin has released an annual list of the 50 metro areas in the U.S. where they’ve performed the most bed bug treatments.
Over the last year, as travel began to resurge in the U.S., restless Americans — and bed bugs — were hitching rides across the country for a getaway. As consumers plan for travel in 2022 amid the evolving pandemic, it’s easy to forget that bed bugs are still very much a threat. Taking into consideration the staffing shortages associated with the hospitality industry, it might be the case that bed bug introductions are not being monitored as often as desired, which is why diligent examination is key.
This ranking for 2022 includes both residential and commercial treatments from December 1,2020 through November30, 2021.
After reaching the top spot in 2021, Chicago held on to the #1position this year – Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments in The Windy City.
The 2nd spot had been Baltimore in 2021 – that was taken over by Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love jumped 12 positions to reach #2 in 2022.
Knocking Washington D.C. off its perch, the 3rd most ranked city this year was New York City. Another high jumper, The Big Apple had been #12 last year.
These are the Top 20 metro areas for 2022, along with how they performed in comparison to last year:
- Chicago, IL
- Philadelphia, PA (+12)
- New York, NY (+9)
- Detroit, MI
- Baltimore, MD (-3)
- Indianapolis, IN (+1)
- Washington D.C. (-4)
- Cleveland, OH (-2)
- Columbus, OH (-4)
- Cincinnati (-2)
- Grand Rapids, MI (-1)
- Los Angeles, CA (-3)
- Champaign, IL (+2)
- Atlanta, GA (-1)
- Charlotte, NC (-4)
- Dallas-Ft. Worth
- Denver, CO (+3)
- St. Louis, MO (+7)
- San Francisco, CA (+3)
- Pittsburgh, PA (-1)
Orkin recommends that while traveling, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to inspect for bed bugs:
Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Be on the lookout for tiny, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in soft furniture and behind headboards.
Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.
Examine your luggage carefully while repacking and once you return home from a trip. Always store luggage away from the bed.
Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.
Orkin’s website has the full list of the top 50 cities in the U.S. with bed bugs.
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