Chicago Listed as America’s Worst Bed Bug City

Chi-town tops the bed bug list for the fourth consecutive year.

January 24, 2024

For the fourth year in a row, Chicago topped the list of Atlanta-based pest control company Orkin’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List.

New York and Philadelphia took second and third place, respectively, just as they did in 2023. Greensboro, North Carolina, saw the largest jump this year, moving up 25 spots into the list’s top 20.

The bed bug cities list is based on data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

According to Orkin’s press release, amid recent reports of increased bed bugs sightings in Paris, France, travelers are more aware of bed bugs and more concerned about bringing them home. Knowing how to identify them can be a first step in avoiding them. Bed bugs are roughly a quarter of an inch in length, red to dark brown in color, and mostly come out of hiding at night to feed on the blood of sleeping humans. By clinging to items such as luggage, purses, and other personal belongings, bed bugs can easily travel from place to place.

Secondhand items such as clothing and furniture are also common bed bug hiding places, allowing pests an opportunity to hitch a ride home with new consumers,” said Ben Hottel, Orkin entomologist. “Examining any new items before they enter your home will help to catch a bed bug infestation sooner, rather than later.”

Orkin suggests remembering the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to inspect for bed bugs:

Survey the 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, including mattresses, box springs, and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures, and torn wallpaper.

Elevate bags and luggage away from beds and walls. The safest place to store luggage is actually in the bathroom or on counters, rather than on beds or chairs.

Examine luggage carefully while repacking and after returning 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 possible after returning home. 

It’s also important to know that hotel rooms aren’t the only place to find bed bugs. Fitness facilities also can harbor the pest. See How to Keep Bed Bugs Out of Hotel Fitness Centers for more information.

To view Orkin’s complete list of 50 cities, click here.

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