Renters beware: Orkin LLC released its list of the most bedbug-infested cities. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bloodsucking pests abound in the nation's most populous areas.
Orkin, a pest control service that handles bedbugs as well as termites and other pests, published its sixth annual Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list on Jan. 8. The ranking criteria relies on the number of bedbug treatments Orkin performed in different metro areas between Dec. 1, 2016 and Nov. 30, 2017. The treatments include both residential and commercial properties.
Baltimore tops the list with the most bedbugs for the second year in a row. Despite its ranking, its position is nowhere as shocking as in 2017, when it jumped nine spots in a single year. It was the first time the port city had even made the top 5.
According to Bloomberg, the Baltimore City Health Department doesn't have any programs to deal with bedbugs, though the communications director for the city’s housing authority said bedbug complaints have declined 30 percent since Orkin began its list.
The nation's capital and Chicago -- ranked second and third, respectively -- have also kept their rankings since 2017. That year, Washington, D.C. had bumped up from third to second place, while Chicago slipped from the top spot to third.
Rounding out the top 10 are Los Angeles, Columbus (Ohio), Cincinnati, Detroit, New York City, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose and Dallas-Fort Worth.
While a few cities have swapped positions, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is the only new addition to the top 10. Philadelphia, which ranked ninth in 2017, is now in 12th position.
Orkin entomologist Dr. Tim Husen says the number of bedbug infestations in the country is rising.
"They continue to invade our homes and businesses on a regular basis because they are not seasonal pests, and only need blood to survive," he said.
Bloomberg reports that bedbugs have been pests for about 4,000 years. They were less common after World War II, but have recently increased in prevalence due to travel, restrictions on insecticides and resistance to certain treatments.
Orkin states that 95 percent of pest professionals report finding bedbugs in apartments and condominiums, according to a 2015 study National Pest Management Association. Among pest professionals, 93 percent have found them in single-family homes and 75 percent have seen them in hotels and motels.
"Any type of home is prone to bud begs," Husen warns. "It has nothing to do with sanitation. We have treated for bedbugs everywhere, from newly built upscale homes to public housing."
Early detection is crucial to handling bedbugs because they cannot be completely stopped. Orkin recommends regularly checking for bedbugs, inspecting second-hand furniture before bringing it in the house and maintaining a clutter-free home. Suspected infected bedding and drapes should be dried in the hottest temperature possible.