Orkin reveals Top 50 Bed Bug Cities — Washington, DC overtakes Baltimore for #1

by Brianna Crandall — January 31, 2020 — Washington, DC, has taken over the unwanted #1 spot on pest control provider Orkin’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list from Baltimore, which dropped to the #2 position after three years as the frontrunner, and Indianapolis joined the Top 10.

Flint saw the biggest jump, moving 16 spots to #31 after only joining the list in 2018. Pittsburgh and Champaign both broke into the Top 20, and Myrtle Beach and Toledo joined the Top 50 list for the first time.

The list is based on treatment data from the US metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2018 – November 30, 2019. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments, although it does not provide a comprehensive picture of treatments delivered by all pest control companies.

The Top 50 US Bed Bug Cities for professional treatments in 2019 were:

  1. Washington, DC (+1)
  2. Baltimore (-1)
  3. Chicago
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. New York
  7. Detroit (+1)
  8. Cincinnati (-1)
  9. Indianapolis (+5)
  10. Atlanta (-1)
  11. Cleveland, OH
  12. Philadelphia (-2)
  13. San Francisco (-1)
  14. Raleigh, NC (-1)
  15. Norfolk (+2)
  16. Champaign, IL (+7)
  17. Dallas (-2)
  18. Grand Rapids (+2)
  19. Pittsburgh (+6)
  20. Charlotte (-1)
  21. Richmond, VA (-5)
  22. Greenville, SC (-4)
  23. Knoxville, TN (-1)
  24. Buffalo, NY (-3)
  25. Greensboro, NC (-4)
  26. Charleston, WV (+5)
  27. Denver
  28. St. Louis (+2)
  29. Nashville (-5)
  30. Lansing (+2)
  31. Flint (+16)
  32. Miami (-3)
  33. Milwaukee (-3)
  34. Tampa (+1)
  35. Omaha (+2)
  36. Orlando (+5)
  37. Davenport, IA (+5)
  38. Houston (-12)
  39. Syracuse (-6)
  40. Boston (-2)
  41. Cedar Rapids, IA (+3)
  42. Myrtle Beach (new to list)
  43. Seattle (-4)
  44. San Diego (+5)
  45. Phoenix (-11)
  46. Fort Wayne, IN (+2)
  47. Las Vegas (-7)
  48. Hartford, CT (-5)
  49. Dayton, OH (-3)
  50. Toledo, OH (new to list)

Bed bugs, which are typically 4-5 mm in length and red to dark brown in color, can travel from place to place with ease, including luggage, purses and other belongings. Normally nocturnal, bed bugs will come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping or quietly resting humans.

Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist, pointed out:

While bed bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat[…] They are excellent hitchhikers, and they reproduce quickly, which make it nearly impossible to prevent bed bugs. Sanitation has nothing to do with where you’ll find them.

According to the 2018 Bugs without Borders Survey by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the top three places where pest professionals report finding bed bugs are single-family homes (91%), apartments/condominiums (89%) and hotels/motels (68%). With that, hotels spend an average of $6,383 per bed bug incident.

However, office buildings and other facilities are not immune to the pests; the NPMA report recorded that 59% of pest professionals had encountered bed bugs in nursing homes, 47% in schools and day care centers, 46% in office buildings, 45% in college dorms, 36% in hospitals, and 19% in public transportation.

Bed bugs are known for rapid population growth. Females can deposit one to five eggs a day and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in their lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live for more than 300 days, often making treatment challenging.

Hartzer continued:

The key to preventing a bed bug infestation is early detection. When one or more bed bugs enter a space, we call it an introduction. During an introduction, bed bugs probably haven’t started reproducing yet, but they could soon. Vigilance is key to stopping bed bugs before infestation levels.

Tell-tale signs of a bed bug introduction could include bites or small black spots indicating bed bug feces or nymph bed bugs in places such as mattress seams, bed frames and furniture. 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.

Some of the unexpected places that the NPMA report noted bed bugs were found in include stuffed animals, wheelchairs, airplanes, school buses, purses and even inside lamps.

Bed bugs are an elusive threat to your business, so it’s critical to detect and treat for them as early as possible. Orkin advises anyone who suspects a bed bug infestation to contact a pest management professional immediately.

For last year’s list, see Orkin’s article on FMLink.

For more information about bed bugs and Orkin’s bed bug services for businesses, which include ongoing monitoring and maintenance visits, see the Orkin website. NPMA also offers information on its Bed Bugs webpage.