Orkin reveals Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list — office buildings aren’t immune to these pests

by Brianna Crandall — January 25, 2019 — For the third year in a row, Baltimore tops Orkin’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list, released last week. New York moved up two spots, while Atlanta and Philadelphia joined the top 10, replacing San Francisco and Dallas, respectively. Atlanta-based Orkin provides pest control services around the world, but the list focuses on the United States.

Five cities moved into the top 50 this year, including Lansing, MI; Orlando, FL; Davenport, IA; Ft. Wayne, IN; and Youngstown, OH. Houston dropped nine positions, while Greenville, SC, rose seven positions, entering the top 20. Additional changes in ranking are noted in the list below.

The list is based on treatment data from the US metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2017 to November 30, 2018. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

Orkin’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list for 2018:

  1. Baltimore, MD
  2. Washington, DC
  3. Chicago, IL
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. New York, NY (+2)
  7. Cincinnati, OH (-1)
  8. Detroit, MI (-1)
  9. Atlanta, GA (+4)
  10. Philadelphia, PA (+2)
  11. Cleveland-Akron, OH (+3)
  12. San Francisco, CA (-3)
  13. Raleigh-Durham, NC (+2)
  14. Indianapolis, IN (-3)
  15. Dallas, TX (-5)
  16. Norfolk, VA (+2)
  17. Richmond, VA (-1)
  18. Greenville, SC (+7)
  19. Charlotte, NC
  20. Grand Rapids, MI (+3)
  21. Buffalo, NY (-1)
  22. Knoxville, TN (-1)
  23. Nashville, TN (-1)
  24. Champaign, IL (+2)
  25. Pittsburgh, PA (-1)
  26. Houston, TX (-9)
  27. Denver, CO (+1)
  28. Milwaukee, WI (+1)
  29. Miami, FL (+8)
  30. St. Louis, MO (+5)
  31. Charleston, WV
  32. Lansing, MI (new to list)
  33. Syracuse, NY
  34. Phoenix, AZ (-7)
  35. Tampa, FL (+14)
  36. Greensboro, NC (+10)
  37. Omaha, NE (+2)
  38. Boston, MA (-6)
  39. Seattle, WA (-3)
  40. Las Vegas, NV (+5)
  41. Orlando, FL (new to list)
  42. Davenport, IL (new to list)
  43. Hartford, CT (-13)
  44. Cedar Rapids, IA (-4)
  45. Dayton, OH (-11)
  46. Honolulu, HI (-3)
  47. Flint, MI (-9)
  48. Wayne, IN (new to list)
  49. San Diego, CA (-8)
  50. Youngstown, OH (new to list)

For comparison, national and international pest control provider Terminix released its own Top 25 cities list in November [see FMLink article]. Although there are understandable discrepancies due to multiple pest management providers and other factors, a majority of the cities that appear in one list also appear in the other. So suffice it to say, if your city appears on either list, watch out!  Be advised to take extra care in keeping an eye out for these pests.

Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist, stated:

Bed bugs are the number one urban pest in many cities today. They are master hitchhikers, so no one is immune. Sanitation has nothing to do with prevention: from public transit to five-star resorts, bed bugs have been and can be found everywhere humans are.

According to Orkin, bed bugs are normally nocturnal insects that come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping or quietly resting humans. They are always in motion and do not have a regular hiding place. Bed bugs will attach to luggage, purses, backpacks, jackets and other belongings, dropping off almost anywhere to find a new carrier.

According to the 2018 “Bugs without Borders Survey” by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the top three places where pest professionals report finding bed bugs are single-family homes (91%), apartments/condominiums (89%) and hotels/motels (68%). But bed bugs can be found anywhere humans go, including medical facilities and public places such as daycare centers, public transit, schools and offices. According to Orkin, hotels spend an average of $6,383 per bed bug incident.

Bed bugs are capable of rapid population growth, with an adult female laying two to five eggs per day (up to 500 in her lifetime), often making treatment challenging. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and typically reddish brown. Their small size and ability to hide make them difficult to see during the day, so it’s important to look for the black, ink-like stains as well as translucent skins they can leave behind.

Bed bugs are an elusive threat to your business, so it’s critical to detect and treat for them as early as possible, says Orkin. The company advises anyone who suspects a bed bug infestation to contact a pest management professional immediately.

For more information about bed bugs and Orkin’s bed bug services for businesses, which include ongoing monitoring and maintenance visits, see the Orkin website. You can also find 100 facts about bed bugs in Orkin’s e-book: 100 Reasons Why Bed Bugs Are Freaky — and Fascinating. NPMA also offers information on its Bed Bugs webpage.