The Windy City Can’t Blow Bed Bugs Away: Chicago Ranks #1 for Third Consecutive Year on Orkin’s Bed Bug Cities List

Consider these bed bug prevention tips as you shop for 2023 travel

ATLANTA (January 9, 2023) – The Windy City is settling in as the #1 city on Orkin’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List for the third year in a row. Chicago, New York and Philadelphia hold onto the top three spots, ranking first, second and third, respectively. Los Angeles saw the largest jump this year, moving up seven spots into the Top Five, with Cleveland (#4) and Raleigh (#20) each moving up the list by four spots.

With “National Shop for Travel Day” taking place on January 10, travelers are being reminded to start planning for vacation, including exploring travel accommodations. As Americans begin to book hotels for 2023 and beyond, it is critical for travelers to know how to identify and thoroughly check for bed bugs within hotel rooms (and beyond) while taking care not to bring the pests into their own homes.

The list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2021 – November 30, 2022. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

  1. Chicago

  2. New York (+1)

  3. Philadelphia (-1)

  4. Cleveland-Akron, OH (+4)

  5. Los Angeles (+7)

  6. Detroit (-2)

  7. Indianapolis (-1)

  8. Baltimore (-3)

  9. Washington, D.C. (-2)

  10. Columbus, OH (-1)

  11. Champaign, IL (+2)

  12. Grand Rapids, MI (-1)

  13. Cincinnati (-3)

  14. Charlotte (+1)

  15. Denver (+2)

  16. Atlanta (-2)

  17. Dallas-Ft. Worth (-1)

  18. Pittsburgh (+2)

  19. Charleston, W.V. (+3)

  20. Raleigh-Durham (+4)

  21. Flint, MI (+2)

  22. San Francisco (-3)

  23. Norfolk, VA (+2)

  24. Greenville, SC (-3)

  25. St. Louis (-7)

  26. Richmond, VA

  27. Youngstown (+10)

  28. South Bend, IN (+5)

  29. Buffalo, NY (-1)

  30. Knoxville (-1)

  31. Cedar Rapids, IA (-1)

  32. Omaha, NE (-5)

  33. Nashville (+1)

  34. Dayton, OH (-2)

  35. Ft. Wayne, IN (+1)

  36. Harrisburg (+6)

  37. Davenport (-2)

  38. Toledo (-7)

  39. Seattle (+5)

  40. Milwaukee (-2)

  41. Tampa (-1)

  42. Lansing, MI (+6)

  43. Greensboro, N.C.

  44. Houston (-3)

  45. Miami (-6)

  46. Lexington, KY (+1)

  47. Orlando (-1)

  48. Peoria (-3)

  49. Louisville, KY (-3)

  50. Lincoln, NE

Typically, bed bugs are 3/16 inch long, red to dark brown in color and are mostly nocturnal insects that come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping humans. These pests are hematophagous, which means blood is their only food source. They can travel from place to place with ease, clinging to items such as luggage, purses and other personal belongings.

“Bed bugs are extremely resilient, making them difficult to control. As people begin to ramp up their travel plans this year, it’s important they know how to protect themselves through pest identification and proper control,” said Ben Hottel, Orkin entomologist. “Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, but are excellent at hiding. Involving a trained professional at the sight of a bed bug introduction is recommended.”

Bed bugs are known for rapid population growth. Female bed bugs can deposit one to five eggs a day and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in their lifetime. They can survive for several months while waiting for their next blood meal, so they’re likely to emerge when a food source, e.g., humans or animals, become available.

"While it’s important to be aware of bed bug infestations within hotels, practicing precautions in other aspects of travel are also important. Taxis, buses and airplanes are also common bed bug hiding places, allowing these pests an opportunity to hitch a ride with unsuspecting travelers. Examining clothing and luggage regularly while traveling can help to catch a bed bug infestation in the early stages,” said Hottel.

Here are proactive tips Orkin recommends for homeowners and travelers to prevent bed bugs:

At Home:

  • 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.

During travel, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to inspect for bed bugs:

  • 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.

With more than 125 years of experience with bed bugs and state-of-the-art tools and products, Orkin is well-equipped to assess your bed bug problem, offer trainings for short-staffed hospitality teams and mount a strategic response to rid your home of the pest and provide maximum protection.

For more information about bed bug prevention and bed bug control, visit Orkin.com or contact your local Orkin branch.

About Orkin, LLC

Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects. Orkin has 358 owned and operated branch offices and 47 franchises in the U.S. The company also has international franchises and subsidiaries in Canada, Europe, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia, the Mediterranean, Africa, and Mexico. For more than 120 years, Orkin has been committed to protecting public health by helping prevent and control pests as well as educating consumers on the potential health risks posed by these pests. As such, Orkin Pros always put the customer first and approach every opportunity with the utmost professionalism and the knowledge and skillset to solve any pest problem. Since 2020, Orkin has partnered with the American Red Cross® to inform the public about the health threats of mosquitoes while boosting our country’s blood supply through monetary contributions and blood donations. Orkin is committed to hiring the world’s best to help protect the places where we live, work and play. Learn more about careers at Orkin here. Visit Orkin.com for additional information. Orkin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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