Cincinnati just scored another top-10 accolade, but this one might make you say "eww."
Pest control company Orkin just released its list of the top 50 bed bug cities in the U.S., and the Queen City is at No. 10.
And while being the 10th-best place for bed bugs to live is relatively gross, this is actually good news because we moved up from our spot at No. 8 last year.
The top five worst bed bug cities are, in order: Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit and Baltimore. Two other Ohio cities were in the top 10 — Cleveland at No. 8 and Columbus at No. 9. (Bed bugs must like the Buckeye State.)
Orkin's list is compiled based on where the company completed the most residential and business bed bug treatments between Dec. 1, 2020 and Nov. 30, 2021.
And, like everything, the pandemic and staffing shortages could be upping the bed bug issue, especially in hotels.
"Amid an ever-evolving pandemic, millions of Americans remain hopeful to keep both travel and social plans intact in 2022. Although sanitation is currently top of mind, it’s easy to forget that bed bugs are still very much a threat during travel," says Orkin in an email to CityBeat. "As we continue to see trips and social activities resume, we will inevitably see an increase in bed bug transmission. And with staffing shortages in the hospitality industry nationwide, it could be the case that bed bugs are not being monitored as often as desired, so knowing what to look for is key."
According to Orkin, "bed bugs are 3/16 inch long, red to dark brown in color and are mostly nocturnal insects that come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping humans." They can survive for long times between meals (of human blood...) and can be transported from place to place — aka a hotel to your house — on luggage, clothing and more.
“Bed bugs are a concern for everyone because they are master hitchhikers, traveling home with people when they likely don’t realize it,” says Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist, in a release. “Their nature of hiding in difficult-to-find cracks and crevices can make them hard to control, which is why involving a trained professional at the sight of an introduction is recommended.”
Here are the pest company's recommendations for spotting the bugs at home and on the road (using the acronym S.L.E.E.P.):
- 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.
- Inspect when you move in, after a trip, when a service worker visits or after guests stay overnight.
- Decrease clutter around your home to make it easier to spot bed bugs on your own or during professional inspections.
- Examine all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your 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.
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