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New Year, New Top City on Orkin’s 2021 Bed Bug Cities List: Chicago

As the fantasy of travel becomes a hopeful reality this year, consider these tips before hitting the road

ATLANTA (February 1, 2021) – Chicago has a new gold medal as the #1 city on Orkin’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List, with Baltimore and Washington, D.C. trailing in second and third place. Despite less travel in 2020, bed bugs were still biting in Chicago, a popular hub for tourism. In fact, the Windy City usually welcomes more than 48 million visitors annually and boasts a transit system of buses and railways that carries 1.7 million passengers on any weekday1 – a dream for bed bugs.

After joining the list last year, Toledo saw the biggest jump moving up 23 spots to number 27. Denver and Charleston both broke into the top 20, and six new cities joined the top 50 list for the first time this year.

The list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2019 – November 30, 2020. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

  1. Chicago (+2)

  2. Baltimore

  3. Washington, DC (-2)

  4. Detroit (+3)

  5. Columbus, OH

  6. Cleveland, OH (+5)

  7. Indianapolis (+2)

  8. Cincinnati

  9. Los Angeles (-5)

  10. Grand Rapids, MI (+8)

  11. Charlotte, N.C. (+9)

  12. New York (-6)

  13. Atlanta (-3)

  14. Philadelphia (-2)

  15. Champaign, IL (+1)

  16. Dallas-Ft. Worth (+1)

  17. Raleigh, N.C. (-3)

  18. Charleston, W.V. (+8)

  19. Pittsburgh

  20. Denver (+7)

  21. Flint, MI (+10)

  22. San Francisco (-9)

  23. Greenville, S.C. (-1)

  24. Norfolk, VA (-9)

  25. St. Louis, MO (+3)

  26. Richmond, VA (-5)

  27. Toledo, OH (+23)

  28. Dayton, OH (+21)

  29. Buffalo, N.Y. (-5)

  30. Omaha (+5)

  31. Nashville (-2)

  32. Milwaukee (+1)

  33. Ft. Wayne, IN (+13)

  34. Greensboro, N.C. (-9)

  35. Cedar Rapids, IA (+6)

  36. Knoxville (-13)

  37. Houston (+1)

  38. Davenport, IA (-1)

  39. Tampa (-5)

  40. Youngstown, Ohio (new to list)

  41. South Bend, IN (new to list)

  42. Phoenix (+3)

  43. Lexington, KY (new to list)

  44. Seattle (-1)

  45. Orlando (-9)

  46. Louisville, KY (new to list)

  47. Miami (-15)

  48. Lansing, MI (-18)

  49. Peoria, IL (new to list)

  50. Minneapolis (new to list)

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

“Bed bugs are a concern for everyone because they are master hitchhikers, traveling home with people when they likely don’t realize it,” said Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist. “Their nature of hiding in difficult-to-find cracks and crevices once introduced into a room can make them hard to control, which is why involving a trained professional at the sight of an introduction is recommended.”

With the anticipation and excitement around 2021 travel, it’s easy to forget that bed bugs are still very much a threat and should be top of mind for anyone who is itching to take a trip. Bed bugs can survive for several months while waiting for their next blood meal, so they’re likely to emerge when a food source, humans, become available.

Whether you decide to travel or want to be proactive at your home, remember 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, black, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in soft furniture and behind headboards. They can even hide out in electrical outlets and picture frames!

  • 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. Be sure to also examine all secondhand furniture and clothing before bringing it in your home and inspect after guests visit.

  • Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 45 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

Celebrating a milestone anniversary this year, Orkin is proud to have achieved 120 years of business, an accomplishment that can be attributed to the company’s ongoing commitment to excellent service. With well over a century of knowledge and experience with bed bugs and state-of-the-art tools and products, Orkin is well-equipped to assess your bed bug problem and mount a strategic response to rid your home of the pest and provide maximum protection.

For more information about bed bug prevention, visit our Pest Library. You can also find additional detection tips in Orkin’s video on “How to Check for Bed Bugs in Hotel Rooms.”

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. Proudly celebrating 120 years of business this year, the company is committed to excellent service and operates more than 400 locations with more than 8,000 employees. Through Orkin’s Points of Service process – Investigate, Protect, Fortify, Keep Watch, Report and Follow Up – Orkin provides customized services to approximately 1.7 million homeowners and businesses in the United States and has nearly 100 international locations in more than 65 countries. Orkin is committed to studying pest biology and applying scientifically proven methods. The company collaborates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and eight major universities to conduct research and help educate consumers and businesses on pest-related health threats. Orkin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL). Follow us on FacebookLinkedInYouTube and Instagram.

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