Chicago Tops Bed Bug Cities List for Second Year in a Row

Nearly half of cities show rise in bed bug treatments
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Chicago tops the 2013 Bed Bug Cities List, released today by pest control leader Orkin. The Windy City’s bed bug problem was serious enough that the City Council passed an ordinance in July 2013 requiring condo associations to have a formal management plan in place for the detection, inspection, and treatment of these pests.

In the South, two major cities had the biggest jumps on the list from 2012 to 2013—Nashville moved up 17 spots while Charlotte climbed 18 spots. Other cities that made notable leaps up the list include Champaign/Springfield, Pittsburgh, and Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville. On the other end of the spectrum, Omaha; Colorado Springs/Pueblo; Lexington, KY; and Buffalo settled into significantly lower spots on the list than last year. Of the five new cities on the list, three are in the Midwest: Toledo; Peoria, Iowa; and Davenport, Iowa/Moline, IL. New Orleans and Kansas City took the final two spots on the list as new entries. On the east coast, six cities took positions lower on the list, including three cities in New York: Albany, Buffalo and New York City.  

Bed bugs continue to bite their way across the country as evidenced by the more than 20 percent increase in Rollins’ (Orkin’s parent company) bed bug business compared to 2012. The nationwide resurgence of the bed bug population prompted the CDC and the EPA to release a joint statement in 2012 advising the public of the emerging health issues associated with bed bugs.

“While studies show that bed bugs do not spread disease, the physical and mental health consequences are well documented and of serious public concern,” said Orkin entomologist and technical services director, Ron Harrison, PhD. “Once bed bugs are inside your home or business, they can reproduce quickly and can travel from place to place in personal belongings and even on people. They can also move from place to place on their own, independently of objects.”

Because every bed bug scenario is different, it’s important for homeowners to call on a professional who can create a solution tailored to their home’s needs.

The list released by Orkin ranks the cities by the number of bed bug treatments Orkin performed from January to December 2013, along with any shift in ranking compared to January to December 2012.

1. Chicago

2. Los Angeles (+1)

3. Columbus, Ohio (+3)

4. Detroit (-2)

5. Cincinnati

6. Cleveland/Akron/Canton (+2)

7. Dayton (+4)

8. Washington, DC (-1)

9. Denver (-5)

10. Indianapolis (+6)

11. Richmond/Petersburg, VA (+1)

12. Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, NC (+3)

13. Dallas/Ft. Worth (-4)

14. Syracuse, NY (+7)

15. Atlanta (+14)

16. Houston (+2)

17. New York (-7)

18. Seattle/Tacoma (-5)

19. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (-5)

20. Boston (+2)

21. Milwaukee (-2)

22. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (+3)

23. Nashville (+17)

24. Pittsburgh (+12)

25. Charlotte (+18)

26. San Diego (+6)

27. Baltimore (-7)

28. Phoenix (+7)

29. Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, IA (+4)

30. Charleston/Huntington, WV (+1)

31. Knoxville, TN (-4)

32. Louisville, KY (-2)

33. Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, MI (+5)

34. Hartford/New Haven, CT (-8)

35. Champaign/Springfield, IL (+13)

36. Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville, SC (+11)

37. Omaha, NE (-20)

38. Buffalo, NY (-10)

39. Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, NE (+2)

40. Lexington, KY (-16)

41. Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, CA (+4)

42. Colorado Springs/Pueblo, CO (-19)

43. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, NY (-1)

44. Minneapolis/St. Paul (-10)

45. Honolulu (-8)

46. Toledo, OH

47. Peoria/Bloomington, IL

48. Davenport, Iowa/Moline, IL

49. New Orleans

50. Kansas City

Harrison offers the following tips to homeowners for bed bug prevention:

* Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly.

* Decrease clutter around your home – this will make bed bug inspections and detection much easier.

* Dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature allowed for fabric.

* Before bringing secondhand furniture into your home, closely inspect it for any signs of bed bugs and quarantine it for a period of time before bringing it into your rooms. Also, keep in mind that there is always a potential for bed bug activity, even if you don’t find any signs.