Sorry, Chicago! The Windy City has earned first place in bed bug infestations — for three years in a row.
Pest control giant Orkin released the 2014 statistics, which prove that the bed bug war is far from over. Pest company profits rose eighteen percent last year, and Americans spent an estimated $446 million on treatments in 2013, compared to $70 million in 2004.
Bed bug infestations have been found in homes, hospitals, on public transit, in posh office buildings, police headquarters and fire stations, schools, libraries and movie theaters.
Orkin Entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D., warns that bed bugs do not discriminate on income or cleanliness, which means they can be found in literally any home or hotel. Many people unknowingly transport the bugs on their clothing or in their bags when they travel.
Chicago isn’t the only city to suffer this dubious honor. Orkin reports that Omaha saw a double-digit increase in bed bugs last year, along with Lexington, Kentucky; Sacramento; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Buffalo; Charleston, West Virginia; and Louisville, Kentucky.
Fortunately, some cities — Syracuse, N.Y., San Diego, Miami, Greenville, S.C. and Atlanta — witnessed a decrease. Myrtle Beach, S.C., St. Louis, Bowling Green, Ky. and Ft. Wayne, Indiana made it on the top fifty list for the first time.
The top ten bed bug cities last year include:
Cleveland – Akron – Canton, Ohio
Dallas – Ft. Worth
Richmond – Petersburg, Va.
Because bed bugs are hard to beat, prevention is key. Orkin experts recommend these precautions:
Decrease clutter to make bed bug inspections and detection much easier.
Quarantine all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside.
Dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.
Traveling increases the risk, so Orkin suggests that visitors remember to “SLEEP”:
Survey the hotel room for red or brown spots on sheets.
Lift and look under on mattress, box spring, sheets and furniture, baseboards, behind pictures and tears in wallpaper.
Elevate luggage on a rack away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.
Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.
Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting when you return home.
Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects. 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. For questions about bed bugs or to find a local Orkin location, visit http://orkin.com.
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