The Terminix International Company, one of the largest pest control companies in the world, operating in 47 U.S. states and 22 countries around the world, recently published the results of its second annual study/report that takes a “look back at the pest trends of the last year.”

For the two years of the report’s existence, the company has said bed bugs are the “Pest of the Year.” The rationality for the decision is based on a truly 21st century metric – online search results. To that end, people — during the course of 2018 — have searched “bed bugs” more than 6.7 million times across the nation.

In the report, Terminix also has named the “pestiest” states. These results, too, are based on the states that had the most pest-related online searches and on the Entomologists’ Almanac, which utilizes online data for the results. The list of Terminix’s most pest-filled states was determined by analyzing overall search volume for pests per capita by state. The list is made up of 18 states.

So let’s use this new “info” as a chance to discuss what bed bugs are and how to manage them. According to WebMD, bed bugs are small, flat, wingless insects with six legs that, like mosquitoes, feed on blood from animals or people.

They range in color from almost white to brown, but they turn rusty red after feeding. The common bedbug doesn't grow much longer than 0.2 inches and can be seen by the naked eye to the astute observer. Bed bugs get their name because they like to hide in bedding and mattresses.

Bedbugs are most often found in hotels, hostels, shelters and apartment complexes where lots of people come and go — of particular interest or concern for today’s facility manager.

They hide in small crevices. They hitch a ride on luggage or bags pets, furniture, clothing, boxes and other objects. Bed bugs are found worldwide, and were once rare in North America, but international travel may have changed this.

While once thought to have been a contributor to the spread of human disease, we can rest assured that there is little evidence that this is actually the case.

The best way to treat them: Well, that brings us back to Terminix. Professional exterminators can locate the bugs and exterminate as needed. However, facility managers, landlords, building administrators and others will likely lead this charge and facilitate the building’s recovery process.