Based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments in 2018, Baltimore topped the list of Orkin’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities for the third year in a row. Washington, D.C., and Chicago remain number two and three respectively. New York moved up two spots to number six and Atlanta and Philadelphia joined the top 10.
Bed bugs are 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 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, the top three places where pest professionals report finding bed bugs are single-family homes (91%), apartments/condominiums (89%), and hotels/motels (68%). Hotels spend an average of $6,383 per bed bug incident.
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 they leave behind.
Here are some proactive tips Orkin recommends for homeowners and travelers:
- Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check the places where bed bugs hide during the day, including mattress tags and seams, and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets, and picture frames.
- Decrease clutter around your home to make it easier to spot bed bugs on your own or during professional inspections.
- Inspect all second-hand furniture before bringing it inside your home. This is a common way for bed bugs to be introduced into homes.
- Dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains, and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.
During travel, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to inspect for bed bugs:
- Survey the hotel room for signs of infestation. Be on the lookout for tiny, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in soft furniture and behind headboards.
- Lift and look in bedbug hiding spots – the mattress, box spring, and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures, and even torn wallpaper.
- Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.
- Examine your luggage carefully while repacking and once you return home from a trip. Always store luggage away from the bed.
- Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest temperature setting after you return home.
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