Cincinnati is the Eighth Worst City in America for Bed Bug Infestations

At least according to Orkin. But that's actually good news...

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click to enlarge Bed bug nymph - Photo: Public Domain
Photo: Public Domain
Bed bug nymph

Pest control company Orkin has released its 2020 ranking of the 50 most bed-bug infested cities in America and Cincinnati was in the top 10 — No. 8 to be exact. But that's good news: Last year we ranked No. 5 in a similar Terminix poll

Washington, D.C. ranked No. 1, followed by Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Columbus, New York, Detroit, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Atlanta. The data was collected based on Orkin services rendered to both residential and commercial properties between Dec. 1, 2018 and Nov. 30, 2019.

“While bed bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat to households,” said Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist, in a release. “They are excellent hitchhikers, and they reproduce quickly which make it nearly impossible to prevent bed bugs. Sanitation has nothing to do with where you’ll find them.”

Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped wingless reddish brown bugs that are most active at night — a time when Orkin says they "come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping or quietly resting humans." They are hard to spot directly, so look for signs of their existence, like small black spots (aka bed bug poop) or nymphs on mattress seams, bed frames and furniture.

Gross fact from Orkin: "Females can deposit one to five eggs a day and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in their lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live for more than 300 days, often making treatment challenging."

Orkin has several tips for both homeowners and travelers, including using the mnemonic device SLEEP when you're away from home: 

  • Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Be on the lookout for tiny, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in soft furniture and behind headboards.
  • Lift and look in bed bug 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 setting after you return home.

Here are the top 25 places to move if you're a bed bug or avoid if you're a human (and their increase or decrease in the Orkin ranking). You can see the full 50 here.

  1. Washington, D.C. (+1)
  2. Baltimore (-1)
  3. Chicago
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. New York
  7. Detroit (+1)
  8. Cincinnati (-1)
  9. Indianapolis (+5)
  10. Atlanta (-1)
  11. Cleveland, OH
  12. Philadelphia (-2)
  13. San Francisco (-1)
  14. Raleigh, NC (-1)
  15. Norfolk (+2)
  16. Champaign, IL (+7)
  17. Dallas (-2)
  18. Grand Rapids (+2)
  19. Pittsburgh (+6)
  20. Charlotte (-1)
  21. Richmond, VA (-5)
  22. Greenville, SC (-4)
  23. Knoxville, TN (-1)
  24. Buffalo, NY (-3)
  25. Greensboro, NC (-4)
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