When you stay at a hotel, sometimes tiny visitors go home with you. Ah, bed bugs. Once you get them in your home, it can be nearly impossible to get rid of them. How concerned you should be about the tiny nuisances might just depend on where you live. Pest-control company Orkin has released its annual Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List. Are you in a bed bug hotspot?
The list ranks metro areas based on the number of bed bug treatments that Orkin has performed. This year’s list, released January 3, is based on treatments performed from December 1, 2015 to November 30, 2016. You might want to wrap yourself in cellophane before spending the night in one of these cities:
- 1. Baltimore
- 2. Washington, D.C.
- 3. Chicago
- 4. New York
- 5. Columbus, Ohio
- 6. Los Angeles
- 7. Detroit
- 8. Cincinnati
- 9. Philadelphia
- 10. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
- 11. Richmond-Petersburg, Va.
- 12. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
- 13. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio
- 14. Indianapolis
- 15. Dallas-Ft. Worth
- 16. Atlanta
- 17. Houston
- 18. Buffalo, N.Y.
- 19. Charlotte, N.C.
- 20. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va.
- 21. Knoxville, Tenn.
- 22. Denver
- 23. Nashville, Tenn.
- 24. Pittsburgh
- 25. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C.
- 26. Phoenix
- 27. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich.
- 28. Boston
- 29. Milwaukee
- 30. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill.
- 31. Hartford-New Haven, Conn.
- 32. Dayton, Ohio
- 33. Omaha, Neb.
- 34. Seattle-Tacoma
- 35. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
- 36. Charleston-Huntington, W.Va.
- 37. St. Louis
- 38. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa
- 39. Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C.
- 40. Syracuse, N.Y.
- 41. Louisville, Ky.
- 42. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, N.C.
- 43. Lexington, Ky.
- 44. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla.
- 45. Kansas City, Mo.
- 46. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
- 47. Salt Lake City, Utah
- 48. Honolulu, Hawaii
- 49. Las Vegas
- 50. Portland, Ore. 
Bed bugs travel easily and can even live in clean houses, so don’t feel dirty if they show up at your home. They can hitch a ride in purses, luggage, and even your clothes. People associate bed bugs with hotels – and that is one of the most likely breeding grounds of the insects – but you can pick them up at movie theaters, libraries, bathrooms, and even on public transportation. 
The little blood-suckers bite humans, leaving behind itchy welts. They don’t pose a serious health threat, but nobody wants to get eaten alive while they’re trying to sleep or watch TV on the couch. 
In a news release, Orkin Entomologist and Director of Technical Services Dr. Ron Harrison said:
“Bed bugs only need blood to survive. We have treated for bed bugs in everything from million dollar homes to public housing.”
Harrison added that bed bugs were virtually unheard of 10 years ago, but now they’re becoming a major problem.
Combatting the Problem
Bed bugs are not easy to spot. When fully grown, they are about the size of an apple seed. Small dark stains are usually the first signs that you have a bed bug infestation.
Here are a few tips for dealing with the problem:
- Inspect your home, especially around the bed. De-clutter your house, and inspect furniture before it enters your home, and dry linens on high heat.
- Thoroughly check hotel rooms while traveling. Look in the mattress, box spring, and other furniture. Keep luggage away from the wall, and examine your bags while re-packing.
- Place dryer-safe clothing in the dryer on the highest setting when you get home. 
As I said, bed bugs can be incredibly difficult to get rid of, partly because they are becoming resistant to the chemicals used to eradicate them. A study published last spring revealed that it took 1,000 times more neonicotinoid pesticides than normal to kill some bed bugs found in Cincinnati, Ohio and Michigan.
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