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Are YOU living in a bed bug haven? The most infested cities of 2017, revealed

Jan. 12, 2018

Pest control company Orkin released its list of the top 50 most bed bug-infested towns and cities in the US on Monday

Baltimore, Washington DC and Los Angeles were the top three most common places that the company got calls requesting treatments 

Bed bugs do not carry disease, but their bites can cause discomfort and they are difficult to eradicate 

The parasites have been on the rise, and experts say 'they're not going anywhere'

Bed bugs are tormenting Americans more each year. Baltimore was the most infested city for the second year in a row, based on how many calls were placed to Orkin pest control

Baltimore is the most bed bug-infested city in the US for the second year in a row, according to an annual list released by a national pest control company on Monday.

Bed bugs are on the rise, continuing to wreak havoc on more homes, hotels and hospitals in more cities across the US each year. 

Experts say that no home is entirely safe from the tiny terrors, regardless of how sanitary you keep your living space. 

Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles and Columbus Ohio, rounded out the top five locations where Atlanta, Georgia-based pest control company Orkin had to treat nests of the pesky bugs.

Bed bugs do not carry infectious diseases, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers them as 'public health pest,' nonetheless.

The tiny creatures feed off of human blood, and their bites may do little more than make some itchy, but for anyone with an allergy to them, even their tiny nibbles can lead to severe reactions that may constrict airways. 

When their mouths break the skin, bed bug bites can also lead to nasty skin infections. 

And if you've ever had bed bugs, you know all too well that the sheer knowledge that countless tiny critters could be crawling around your sheets take a serious toll on mental health. 

'Reported effects include anxiety, insomnia and systemic reactions,' according to the EPA. 

Bed bugs most commonly make their nests in apartments or condominiums, single-family homes and hotels or motels. 

They also reproduce at all times throughout the year, though most terminators reported in 2015 that summer was their busiest season, according to the Bugs Without Borders Survey. 

The more transient we are as a population, the bigger our bed bug problem is going to be, according to experts. 

For 60 years between 1939 and 2000, the US - and, in fact, the world -  saw a drastic decline in bed bugs thanks in large part to the introduction of the pesticide DDT. 

But the chemical, which targets bed bugs' central nervous systems, was linked to health problems like seizures and in 1996, the EPA joined international efforts to curb its use. 

The top 20 most bed bug-infested cities in the US for 2017 

As bed bugs become increasingly common throughout the US, Atlanta, Georgia pest control company Orkin compiled its list of the most infested cities in the country for 2017. 

1. Baltimore, MD

2. Washington, D.C.

3. Chicago, IL

4. Los Angeles, CA

5. Columbus, OH

6. Cincinnati, OH 

7. Detroit, MI 

8. New York, NY

9. San Francisco- Oakland-San Jose, CA

10. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

11. Indianapolis, IN

12. Philadelphia, PA

13. Atlanta, GA

14. Cleveland- Akron-Canton, OH

15. Raleigh- Durham, NC

16. Richmond- Petersburg, VA

17. Houston, TX

18. Norfolk- Portsmouth- Newport News, VA

19. Charlotte, NC

20. Buffalo, NY 

Source: Orkin

Even with DDT, however, we were doomed to be stuck with our unwelcome bedfellows, who were becoming resistant to the pesticide. 

'Bedbugs are definitely back on the radar and they are certainly not going anywhere,' said Orkin entomologist Dr Tim Husen. 

As the blood-sucking insects were getting stronger, we were building better transportation infrastructures for ourselves, and them. 

Bad bedfellows: Bed bugs are tiny ans insidious parasites, but knowing how to spot and treat them is the best way to keep them from spreading any faster than they already are 

Widespread air travel likely helped to distribute the survivalist strains of the bugs throughout the world.   

Now, they once again thrive in every city in the US, especially plaguing cities like Baltimore, which is one of the country's busiest ports. 

However, the City Health Department does not offer any services to get rid of the pests, just information through its website.

New York City, where the government provides a more robust system for reporting and treating bed bugs, fell four spots in Orkin's rankings this year, from the fourth to the eighth most infested city. 

Ultimately though, Dr Husen says that his company treated similar numbers of infestations in any of the cities in the list's top ten, and that any place that made the list of 50 could be considered a hot bed for the bugs. 

'Any of the towns on the list where there is a large potential for common areas, lots of transportation, or a travel industry where you're going to have lots of hotels, there's a high potential to spread things,' he said. 

'Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and can move around real easily,' he added. 

The creatures are 'pure parasites,' but not dangerous, and sanitation won't help prevent them. Dr Husen says that awareness of how to spot them and treat them quickly is the best way to keep yourself, your neighbors and any place you travel to safe from the pesky bloodsuckers.  



Bedbug bites themselves are painless and do not spread disease.

Yet, a reaction can occur within minutes or as long as two weeks after you've been bitten.

Signs you've been bitten include:

Itchy, red bumps on the skin

Bumps on exposed areas such as the face and hands

Bumps that occur in a straight line

In severe cases, rashes or fluid-filled blisters

Blood spots on your sheets if you squash the bugs while sleeping

Your bedroom developing an unpleasant, musty smell

Source: NHS Choices

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