If you are looking to stay somewhere where the bed bugs don't bite, you might want to avoid Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The cities came in first and second respectively on Orkin's annual list of most calls to exterminate bed bugs.
According to Orkin's list, Baltimore jumped from No. 10 last year to No.1 on the list revealed Tuesday. Behind Washington at No. 2 was Chicago, New York and Columbus. Chicago topped last year's list.
The list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2015 – Nov. 30, 2016. This ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.
Los Angeles improved from No. 2 on last year's list to No. 6.
According to Orkin Entomologist and Director of Technical Services Ron Harrison, the problem has grown rapidly in the last 10 years. Harrison said the issue was practically "unheard of" more than a decade ago.
“Anyone can get bed bugs in their home. They are not a sign of uncleanliness. Bed bugs only need blood to survive. We have treated for bed bugs in everything from million dollar homes to public housing,” Harrison said.
Orkin offers the following tips to combating bed bugs:
- Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check locations where bed bugs hide during the day, including mattress seams and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets and picture frames.
- Decrease clutter around your home to make bed bug inspections and detection much easier.
- Inspect all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your home.
- Dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.
During travel, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P to inspect for bed bugs:
- Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for black or brown spots on any furniture.
- Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, bedskirt and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
- Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest place is in the bathroom.
- Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.
- Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.
To see the complete top 50 list, click here.