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Is Your City Tops for Bed Bugs?


1/10/2018

For the second year in a row, Baltimore ranks number one on the Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list compiled by Orkin.

The list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2016 – November 30, 2017. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments. 

New York fell four spots, while Dallas-Fort Worth joined the top 10. San Diego and Albany rejoin the list, after falling out of the top 50 in 2017, and New Orleans and Flint, Mich., join the list for the first time ever while Orlando has fallen off the list.

1. Baltimore
2. Washington, D.C.
3. Chicago
4. Los Angeles (+2)
5. Columbus, Ohio
6. Cincinnati (+2)
7. Detroit
8. New York (-4)
9. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
10. Dallas-Fort Worth (+5)

“The number of bed bug infestations in the United States is still rising,” says Dr. Tim Husen, an Orkin entomologist. “They continue to invade our homes and businesses on a regular basis because they are not seasonal pests, and only need blood to survive.”

Bed bugs are always in motion. They travel from place to place with ease, including luggage, clothing and other belongings. In addition to single family homes, bed bugs can be found in apartments, hotels, hospitals and public places like daycare centers, public transit, schools and offices.

According to a 2015 “Bugs without Borders Survey” by the National Pest Management Association, the top three places where pest professionals report finding bed bugs are apartments/condominiums (95 percent), single-family homes (93 percent) and hotels/motels (75 percent).

“Any type of home is prone to bud begs. It has nothing to do with sanitation," Husen says. "We have treated for bed bugs everywhere, from newly built upscale homes to public housing.”

Bed bugs are capable of rapid population growth with an adult female laying two to five eggs per day (up to 500 in her lifetime), often making treatment challenging. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and are typically reddish brown. Their small size and ability to hide make them difficult to see during the day, so it’s important to look for the black, ink-like stains they can leave behind. 


Bed bugs cannot be completely prevented so early detection is critical. To help detect bed bugs, Orkin recommends homeowners and travelers do the following:

At Home:

  • Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check the places where bed bugs hide during the day, including mattress tags and seams, and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets and picture frames. 
  • Decrease clutter around your home to make it easier to spot bed bugs on your own or during professional inspections.
  • Inspect all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your home. This is a common way for bed bugs to be introduced into homes.
  • 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. 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.


Bed bugs are an elusive threat to your household and beyond, as they can reproduce quickly and travel on your belongings, so it’s critical to detect and treat for them as early as possible. 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 bed bug e-book: “100 Reasons Why Bed Bugs Are Freaky – and Fascinating.”


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