Bed bugs are a growing problem throughout the country. This week, Orkin, a major pest control company, released its third top 10 list of cities with big bed-bug problems, based on the number of treatments the company provided in 2014.
Topping the list is Chicago, followed by Detroit; Columbus, Ohio; Los Angeles; Cleveland, including Akron and Canton; the Dallas–Ft. Worth area; Cincinnati; Denver; Richmond–St. Petersburg, Va.; and Dayton. Ohio.
Data named several cities that have dropped in the standings. They include Syracuse, N.Y.; San Diego, Miami, Greenville, S.C., and Atlanta.
Bed bugs can be found almost anywhere—hospitals, long-term care facilities, hotel rooms and public transportation, for example. Bed bugs are active year-round, and their bites can leave itchy, red welts on the skin. The good news is that unlike many other insects, they do not spread disease.
While the above states top the list, bed bugs are found in every region of the country. Be vigilant in taking precautions to prevent infestation. When traveling, Orkin suggests using the acronym SLEEP to determine bed bug presence:
- Survey the room. Look for red and brown spots on the sheet.
- Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: mattress, box spring, linens and furniture. Even look behind baseboards.
- Elevate luggage off the floor and away from walls.
- Examine luggage when repacking and when you arrive back home.
- Place all unpacked dryer-safe clothing in the dryer at the highest safe temperature.
“Bed bugs are not limited to any level of cleanliness or income, which means they can be found in any home or hotel,” says Ron Harrison, PhD, Orkin entomologist and technical services director, noting that people often transport them on their clothes or in their luggage.