Baltimore Holds Top Spot on Bed Bugs Cities List
Baltimore tops this year’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list, released today by pest control leader 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 – November 30, 2016. This ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.
Orkin’s bed bug revenue is up more than 10 percent over last year.
“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. Bed bugs can be found anywhere, from single family homes, apartments and hotel, 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 says.
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 says. “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 homeowners and travelers do the following:
- Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check locations where bed bugs hide during the day, including mattress seams and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets and picture frames. “I like to inspect every week when I change the sheets to make sure I don’t have a visitor,” Harrison says.
- Decrease clutter around your home to make bed bug inspections and detection much easier.
- Inspect all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your home.
- 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 your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.
- Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.
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.
For more information about bed bug detection and prevention, visit Orkin.com. You can also find 100 facts about bed bugs in Orkin’s new bed bug e-book.