Over the past 20 to 30 years, bed bugs have become a larger and larger worldwide problem. 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 hide 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.
Even worse, 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. And if that wasn’t bad enough, 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 U.S., has released 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, 2020 – November 30, 2021.
Lucky Chicago held onto the #1 spot for the 2nd year in a row and Philadelphia jumped an impressive 12 spots to rank #2 this time around. New York also had a big jump – 9 spots – to hit #3. Detroit held onto its #4 position for the 2nd year in a row, and Baltimore, which was #2 last year, now rounds out the Top 5.
Here are the Top 20 for 2022, including a comparison to where they were last year:
New York (+9)
Washington, DC (-4)
Cleveland, OH (-2)
Columbus, OH (-4)
Grand Rapids, MI (-1)
Los Angeles (-3)
Champaign, IL (+2)
Charlotte, N.C. (-4)
Louis, MO (+7)
San Francisco (+3)
This page of Orkin’s website has the full list of the top 50 cities in the U.S. with bed bugs.
Feature Photo: Orkin
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Which is worst, #1 or #50?
I wouldn’t trust anything Orkin says.
I worked in The pest industry for 20 yrs. 6 yrs with Orkin which was the worst 6 yrs. Orkin was very shady company.
Bed bugs are a particular problem in the US because the government banned the only effective pesticide used against bedbugs. When an infestation occurs, hotels have major difficulties getting rid of the bedbugs. Beware that once a property has them, they are almost impossible to get rid of bedbugs! We always check the beds!
Actually, they’re a problem all around the world. And they can be gotten rid of – it’s just a process.
Yes many countries have banned some of the most effective bed bug pesticides. But also excessive use of some pesticides has raised pesticide resistance in bedbugs. The heat treatments work the best, but the bedbugs can easily escape one hotel room for the adjacent rooms. Bedbugs are a bigger nuisance in cities because everyone lives so close together.
Checking the bed before unpacking in your room is the easiest thing to do for hotel guests. If you find anything that is suspicious, call the front desk and ask for a room change.