Pest-control company Orkin has just released its 2012 annual list of the 50 most bed bug-infested cities in the United States, and the country's residents are rushing to see whether or not they might need to worry about changing their mattresses anytime soon.
Entomologists working with Orkin explain that, despite the best of efforts to put an end to this problem, bed bugs are still present in most urban areas across the United States.
Ron Harrison, Ph.D, wished to draw attention to the fact that, despite their being called bed bugs, these parasitic insects can be found not just in a person's bedroom, but also in other parts of the house.
“Education and prevention are key. Inspect your bedroom regularly, and be cautious when traveling. Adult bed bugs resemble apple seeds in size and color, while newly-hatched babies can be about the size of a pinhead and pale in color. Check mattress seams, sheets and furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames,” Ron Harrison said.
Orkin's list of the 50 most bed bug-infested cities, made available in its entirety at the end of the article, places Chicago at the top. This city is followed shortly by Detroit, Los Angeles, Denver and Cincinnati.
Doctors warn that, at least for the time being, there is no evidence that bed bugs can transmit diseases to humans who come in contact with them.
However, they are known to carry pathogens, and their bites more often than not cause itchiness and swelling.
The entomologists who put together this report argue that, as one can easily notice at a first glance, quite a lot of the urban areas who made it on their list happen to house airports.
Therefore, they suspect that there might be a link between crowd movements and the occurrence of bed bugs. Ron Harrison commented on this observation as follows:
“Based on the diversity of cities on the list, we all need to be very cautious when we travel—whether it is business or pleasure, or to visit family, friends or vacation. We need to be vigilant wherever we are and take the proper precautions.”
*The number in parenthesis is the change in ranking from 2011.
1. Chicago (+1)
2. Detroit (+1)
3. Los Angeles (+2)
5. Cincinnati (-4)
6. Columbus, Ohio
7. Washington, D.C. (+1)
8. Cleveland/Akron/Canton (+5)
9. Dallas/Ft. Worth (-2)
10. New York (-1)
11. Dayton, Ohio (+4)
12. Richmond/Petersburg, Va. (-2)
13. Seattle/Tacoma (+14)
14. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (-2)
15. Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, N.C. (+4)
16. Indianapolis (+15)
17. Omaha, Neb. (+11)
18. Houston (-7)
19. Milwaukee (+13)
20. Baltimore (-2)
21. Syracuse, N.Y. (+2)
22. Boston (-8)
23. Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colo. (+2)
24. Lexington, Ky. (-2)
25. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (-1)
26. Hartford/New Haven, Conn. (+10)
27. Knoxville, Tenn. (+11)
28. Buffalo, N.Y. (+1)
29. Atlanta (-8)
30. Louisville, Ky. (+5)
31. Charleston/Huntington, W. Va. (+18)
32. San Diego, Calif. (-6)
33. Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa (+12)
34. Minneapolis/St. Paul (+12)
35. Phoenix (-1)
36. Pittsburgh (-6)
37. Honolulu (-19)
38. Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, Mich. (+1)
39. Grand Junction/Montrose, Colo. (-1)
40. Nashville, Tenn.
41. Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, Neb. (+7)
42. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y. (+2)
43. Charlotte (-10)
44. Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.
45. Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, Calif. (-4)
46. Las Vegas (-30)
47. Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville, S.C.
48. Champaign/Springfield, Ill.
49. Portland, Or.
50. Sioux City, Iowa