Bed bugs are on the move around the world, becoming a global pandemic. However, some cities have been hit harder than others.
Orkin’s List of Top 10 Cities with the Highest Rate of Bed Bugs
Every year, Orkin releases a list of the top 50 cities in the United States with the highest rate of bed bug infestations. Interestingly, Baltimore has taken the top spot for two years in a row. As the list clearly shows, bed bugs are all across the nation, from New Orleans to Los Angeles.
Here are the top ten most bed bug infested cities in the United States for 2019:
- Washington, D.C.
- Los Angeles
- Columbus, Ohio
- New York
Orkin bases the list on the number of commercial and residential bed bug treatments that took place within each city that year. Although this does not show the extent of the problem in cases that go untreated, it does give an idea of just how widespread the insects are in the region.
Atlanta and Philadelphia Rise to the Top 10
Atlanta and Philadelphia both commanded spots in the top 50 last year but this is the first year they have risen to the top 10. Clearly the bed bug problem is only growing in both cities.
Why Are Bed Bugs so Bad in Baltimore?
There is no easy answer for why bed bugs remain a consistent problem in the Clipper City. Many suggest that the city’s Department of Health is limited in what they can do with no mitigation programs in place. The city’s Department of Housing and Community Development’s Property Maintenance Inspectors have undergone specialized training to identify bed bug infestations. Once they determine that an infestation exists within a building, they can issue warnings and citations to the owner and the occupants who are then required to take steps to eradicate the problem. Unfortunately, follow-ups are rare, so the problem continues and often only gets worse.
Washington's Bed Bug Problem
The nation’s capital took a dismal second place on the top 50 list. The protocol in Washington D.C. is similar to Baltimore. Citations can be issued but they cannot force a landlord or owner to treat the problem. In addition, they have no city-wide control measures to help those who cannot afford treatment or are unable to have the service rendered.
New Orleans and Bed Bugs
For the first time, New Orleans made it to the top 50 list of bed bug plagued cities. The insects have become a serious problem throughout the state, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. In the last few years, the problem has increased in private homes specifically, with 30 to 40 treatments reported each month.
Nationwide Increase of Bed Bug Infestations
The rate of bed bug infestations is increasing every year. Bed bugs are opportunists who use every chance to travel in clothing, belongings, and luggage to new locations to set up fresh colonies. Bed bug infestations are not just confined to a single home - they are able to spread easily throughout multiplexes and apartments. Bed bugs are also becoming a significant problem in hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, daycare centers, schools, public transport, senior living facilities, movie theaters, offices, and churches.
Sanitation and Bed Bugs
Many people mistakenly believe that bed bug infestations in urban centers are the result of sanitation problems. While ghettos and subsidized housing apartments do suffer from extreme cases of bed bugs, sanitation has nothing to do with the problem. Typically, landlords refuse the funds needed to properly treat and eradicate the pests from the location allowing the bed bug population to grow and spread as people move to other housing options. However, bed bugs can just as easily occur in upscale homes and resorts. The difference is that they are typically identified and treated immediately. If the problem is eradicated swiftly there is less chance of spreading.
History of Bed Bugs
For 50 years there were nearly zero bed bugs in America and the pests were believed to be eradicated. Unfortunately, in recent years, due to the ban of numerous toxic pesticides and an uptick in international travel, they have reemerged. Researchers have now found that the bug’s genetics have altered over time, making them more resistant to pesticides and even harder to kill.
Conquering Bed Bugs
With the steady increase in infestation rates, it doesn’t seem bed bugs are going anywhere soon. The best defense is to be aware and stay educated on new, innovative technologies and treatments options that may offer a solution!
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