America39s Most Bed Bug Infested Cities May Surprise You

America's Most Bed Bug Infested Cities May Surprise You – Fox Weather

Check for bed bugs when traveling

Orkin Pest Management encourages everyone to remember the acronym SLEE,P. to prevent bed bugs in hotels and vacation rentals and ensure they don't infest your home when you return.

Travelers beware: Orkin just released the 2024 list of the 50 most bed bug-infested cities in the United States

Chicago tops the list for the fourth consecutive year. New York and Philadelphia retained the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, followed by Cleveland, Los Angeles and Detroit for the second straight year.

Orkin, a pest control company, counted the number of commercial and residential bed bug treatments the company performed between December 1, 2022 and November 30, 2023.

Where do bed bugs live?

The bloodsuckers can live anywhere and travel easily with luggage, handbags, bedding, clothing and furniture. The Centers for Disease Control states that bed bugs can travel over 100 feet in a night, but typically stay within 8 feet of where people sleep. However, the parasite can survive for months without a blood meal.

“Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been considered a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe,” advises the Centers for Disease Control. “Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts, and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions in which they are found.”

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File: Bed bugs feed on human skin. (Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics/Getty Images)

Frequent travelers are most at risk

According to the CDC, everyone is at risk of encountering bed bugs. Those most at risk are frequent travelers who share bedrooms where others have previously slept.

Bed bugs feed exclusively on the blood of sleeping people and animals, but they are not known to transmit disease. You may notice obvious signs such as bite marks on your body. Development can take up to two weeks. Some people never develop markings.

The beetles inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant (blood clotting agent) before feeding, so people may not realize they are being bitten.


File: A Texas college student shows off the bites and welts she received from bed bugs in her apartment. (Nick de la Torre/Houston Chronicle)

Other symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety and skin rashes can be early signs of an infestation.

“Bite reactions can range from the absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a severe allergic reaction,” explains the CDC. “Bed bugs are not considered dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to multiple bites may require medical attention.”

According to the CDC, the bugs generally range in size from 1 mm, slightly larger than the thickness of a paper clip, to 7 mm, about the size of Lincoln's head on a penny. They are wingless, small, flat and reddish to dark brown creatures. But they are difficult to detect and can be resilient.


File: Bed bugs vary in size and color. Here they are compared to the size of a 1 euro coin. (Frank Molter/Picture Alliance/Getty Images)

“Although bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, they are excellent at hiding. It is recommended that you consult a trained professional if you see a bed bug introduction,” Orkin entomologist Ben Hottel said in a statement.

During the day, the mostly nocturnal animals hide in the seams of mattresses and box spring beds, headboards, dressers, behind wallpaper, picture frames, sockets and in the mess around the bed.

“Used items such as clothing and furniture are also common hiding places for bed bugs, providing pests with an opportunity to enter the home with new consumers,” Hottel said. “Inspecting all new items before they enter your home can help you detect a bed bug infestation sooner rather than later.”

Check for bed bugs

At home, Orkin and the CDC recommend:

  • Look for the exoskeletons left behind by molting insects.
  • Check folds and understitching on mattresses and bedding. Tidy up the bedroom.
  • Look for rusty stains on the mattress or furniture (blood-filled feces).
  • Be careful if you smell a sweet, musty smell.
  • Check all furniture before bringing it home.
  • Inspect your home when you move in, after guests have stayed overnight, and after service staff have worked in your home.

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File: This beagle is trained to detect bed bugs. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

When traveling, Orkin recommends the acronym SLEEP:

  • SInspect the hotel room for signs of infestation. Look for tiny, inky stains on mattress seams, in upholstered furniture, and behind headboards.
  • LLook for hiding places for bed bugs: mattresses, box springs and other furniture, but also behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • ELift luggage away from the bed and the wall. The safest places are the bathroom or on the countertop.
  • EInspect your luggage carefully when repacking and after returning home from a trip. Always store your luggage away from the bed.
  • PWhen you return home, place all dryable items in your luggage in the dryer on high for at least 30-45 minutes.

Once in a house, hotel, cruise ship cabin, lodging, dormitory, apartment, train or bus; A bed bug infestation happens quickly. Females can lay one to five eggs per day and up to 200 to 500 in their lifetime.

Call a professional

The CDC recommends calling an experienced professional to eliminate bed bugs with insecticides.