Afraid of bedbugs? Avoid these cities, says Orkin
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Got bugs? Many cities do, if it is bedbugs that are the target. Washington, D.C., is the No. 1 city on Orkin's Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list, topping nearby Baltimore, which fell to the second spot after three years as the front-runner.Indianapolis joined the top10 of the list this year.
Flint, Michigan, saw the biggest jump moving 16 spots to No. 31 after only joining the list in 2018. Pittsburgh and Champaign, Illinois, both broke into the top 20, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Toledo, Ohio, joined the top 50 list for the first time.
The list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bedbug treatments from Dec. 1, 2018 to Nov. 30, 2019. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.
"While bed bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat to households," said Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist. "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."
Bedbugs, 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, bedbugs will come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping or quietly resting humans.
According to the 2018 "Bugs without Borders Survey" by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the top three places where pest professionals report finding bedbugs are single-family homes (91%), apartments/condominiums (89%) and hotels/motels (68%). With that, hotels spend an average of $6,383per bedbug incident.
Bedbugs 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.
"The key to preventing a bed bug infestation is early detection," Hartzer said. "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 bedbug introduction could include small black spots indicating bedbug feces or nymph bedbugs 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.
Here are proactive tips Orkin recommends for travelers:
During travel, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to inspect for bedbugs:
Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Be on the lookout for tiny, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in soft furniture and behind headboards.
Lift and look in bedbug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.
Examine your luggage carefully while repacking and once you return home from a trip. Always store luggage away from the bed.
Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.
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