Baltimore received the top spot on Orkin’s yearly ranking of cities with the worst bed bug infestations.
Every year, the pest control company Orkin releases statistics detailing the worst American cities for different types of pest infestations. Since they are a nationwide company, Orkin can pull data from its franchises and determine which cities had the most calls for service.
Baltimore was at the top of the 2018 list as the worst U.S. city for bed bugs. Coming in hot at the number two position, however, was Washington, D.C. Both cities held these spots in last year’s ranking as well.
Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius) are a species of parasitic insects that feast on human blood. Typically found living in mattresses and upholstered furniture, they feed on unsuspecting sleepers. Bed bug are not known to carry any pathogens, but their bites can cause serious rashes and for some, even allergic reactions.
How can you stop bed bugs from getting into your home? Well, buying a used mattress is a pretty good way to turn your home into a bed bug paradise. Staying in sketchy motels is also a great strategy for welcoming these little buggers in. But the truth is that bed bugs can be found all over, including offices, grocery stores, and gyms. They will do everything they can to move to a better “feeding ground,” including hiding in your clothes or luggage. Orkin says, though, that hotel and motel stays seem to amount for the most cases of bedbug infestation.
There are a few steps you can take to prevent bed bugs from following you from a hotel to your home.
Orkin suggests that when first check into a hotel, you should put your luggage in the bathtub. Sounds weird, but it can keep your luggage safe in the short term because bed bugs can’t climb smooth surfaces.
With your luggage safely in the bathtub, inspect your motel/hotel room for tiny brown or black spots that could be signs of dead bed bug casings or droppings. You can use a flashlight on your cell phone to get a better view and if you’re really brave, try a black light.
Even if you don’t see any evidence of bed bugs, it’s still a good idea to keep your luggage elevated off the hotel room floor. When you get home from your trip, put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for at least 15 minutes to kill any bed bugs that might have snuck home with you.
Orkin even released a short video listing the top 10 bed bug cities of 2018. You can read more about Orkin’s rankings here.
Preventing a bed bug infestation is always preferred because once bugs are found, it can be incredibly difficult (and expensive) to eradicate the pest.
Orkin didn’t provide any reasoning for the fact that Baltimore and Washington, D.C. both held the top spots on the bed bug ranking, though it does suggest that there is a regional component to the problem. Virginia also had two areas make the Top 50 list, with the Richmond-Peterson area coming in at No. 16 (down five spots from 2017) and the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News claiming the No. 18 spot this year (up two spots from last year).
Have you had any run-ins with bed bugs? Let us know your story in the comment section below!