This is one superlative no one wants their city to win. Pest control company Orkin recently released its Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list, compiled with data of the places where Orkin performed the most treatments for bed bugs from December of 2016 to November of 2017. The reality is that bed bugs have shown up in cities and towns all across America, from mansions to cramped apartments. They’ve been increasing in number in the United States since the turn of the century due to increased travel and limitations on certain insecticides, but numbers have been especially high in these cities. There’s not too much you can do to stop them; early detection is critical since there is no foolproof way to keep them out of your home. Here are the warning signs you’re about to have a bed bug problem.
RELATED: Signs of bed bugs
Warning signs you're about to have a bed bug problem
Warning signs you're about to have a bed bug problem
People you know have had bed bugs
Bed bug infestations can spread from home to home, especially in apartment buildings where they don't have far to travel. "We have more people affected by bed bugs in the United States now than ever before," says Ron Harrison, PhD, Orkin Entomologist and Director of Technical Services. "They were virtually unheard of in the U.S. 10 years ago." If you know someone who has had a bed bug problem, be safe and check your home for intruders. Try this DIY guide to getting rid of bed bugs.
There are small, itchy bites on your body
Bed bugs can leave small itchy and inconsistent bites on your body. If you've found clusters of bites, especially if they are in straight lines of three, checking for bed bugs might be worth it. It isn't a sure sign, though. Some people won't show any signs of being bitten by bed bugs. "People may have bed bugs and not know it because many people have no physical reaction to bed bug bites," Dr. Harrison says. "That's why it's important for people everywhere to inspect for bed bugs regularly." Here's how to recognize bed bugs if you suspect you have them.
There are dark stains on your sheets or pillowcases
Hotel rooms are one of the primary ways that bed bugs spread. Orkin recommends that people who use hotel rooms often use the S.L.E.E.P. method to inspect for bed bugs. The method involves surveying the hotel room for infestation signs, checking the bed before you use it, and examining luggage when repacking. Don't miss this guide for spotting bed bugs in your hotel room.
There are skin flakes on your bed or clothing
Skin flakes from bed bugs are small, brown, and oval, and they are one of the signs you have bed bugs. If you find any of these small casings around your home, you might have bed bugs. Don't be too discouraged, though, by the presence of bed bugs because they can happen in even the cleanest homes. "Anyone can get bed bugs in their home. They are not a sign of uncleanliness. Bed bugs only need blood to survive," Dr. Harrison says. "We have treated for bed bugs in everything from million dollar homes to public housing."
You've only looked for bed bugs in your bed
Despite their name, bed bugs can thrive in multiple locations outside of a bed. According to a 2015 "Bugs Without Borders Survey" by the National Pest Management Association, nearly all (99.6 percent) of pest professionals nationwide have treated bed bugs in the past year, up from five, ten, and 15 years ago, and many of these cases did not involve beds at all. If you're looking for bed bugs, check the seams of chairs and couches, drawer joints, and areas of loose wallpaper too.
There are brownish-red stains on your shets that smear when wiped
As gross as it is, bed bugs can leave clusters of their poop on sheets, and these clusters can be how to know if you have bed bugs. If you find small stains that smear when wiped with a wet rag, it might be evidence of bed bug fecal matter. If you find this alongside mattress seams or box spring edges, you might have a bed bug problem. Find out how bad it is not to wash your sheets weekly.
You've recently purchased secondhand furniture without washing it
Getting a great deal on furniture is awesome, but secondhand furniture can invite unwanted pests like bed bugs into your home. Orkin recommends thoroughly inspecting any furniture that comes into your home for bugs before agreeing to purchase it. Next, don't miss these 13 secrets about bed bugs, termites, and other creepy pests.
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Taking first place on the list for the second year in a row was Baltimore, followed closely by neighboring Washington, D.C. Chicago, Los Angeles, Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit, New York, San Francisco, and Dallas all made the top ten. New York, infamous for bed bugs, dropped four spots to eighth place, while Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Dallas all rose in the ranking, as well as Atlanta, where Orkin is based. New Orleans and Flint, Michigan made the list for the first time.
So if you live in or are visiting any of these cities, it’s wise to be a little more vigilant about your susceptibility to bed bugs. According to the CDC, bed bugs often come into contact with people by way of luggage, bags, clothes, bedding, furniture, or anywhere they can easily hide and hitch a ride. Always inspect hotel rooms or any place you might be staying—here’s a guide to how to do so properly. Now, check out these secrets that bed bugs don’t want you to know.