LOS ANGELES - You may want to take a double look at your mattress tonight after reading this.
Chicago topped the annual list for the fourth year in a row, followed by Chicago (#2), New York (#3), Philadelphia (#4) and Los Angeles rounding out the top five.
"Bed bugs are extremely resilient, making them difficult to control. As travel plans ramp up, it’s important that Americans know how to protect themselves through pest identification and proper control," said Ben Hottel, Orkin entomologist. "While bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, they are excellent at hiding. Involving a trained professional at the sight of a bed bug introduction is recommended."
Bedbugs can stay alive for a year without a meal, so they are likely to emerge the moment a food source (humans or animals) becomes available. Female bed bugs are known for rapid population growth and can deposit one to 500 eggs a day.
Without any blood, "they can slow their metabolism and just wait for us," said Jean-Michel Berenger, an entomologist who raises bedbugs in his lab in the infectious diseases section of the Mediterranee University Hospital in Marseille. The carbon dioxide that all humans give off "will reactivate them … and they’ll come back to bite you."
To get these rankings, Orkin analyzed treatment data from the metro areas where it performed the most bedbug treatments from Dec. 1, 2022 – Nov. 30, 2023. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.
Here are some tips from Orkin on how to prevent bedbugs:
- Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check the places where bed bugs hide during the day, including mattress tags and seams, and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets and picture frames. Inspect when you move in, after a trip, when a service worker visits or after guests stay overnight.
- Decrease clutter around your home to make it easier to spot bed bugs on your own or during professional inspections.
- Examine all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your home.
- 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 bed bug 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 30-45 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.