Just the words ‘bed bugs’ makes my skin crawl. And when you travel frequently, it’s something I worry about often. Especially after it was reported that Paris was experiencing an infestation and that the city was crawling with them in hotels and on trains. RELATED: Don’t Let Bed Bugs Hitch a Ride Home – Here’s How to Spot and Stop Them

Fortunately, in all my travels, bed bugs haven’t been in an issue, although I did suspect I’d been bitten by some from a blanket I was covered with while getting a foot massage in Bangkok (shudder).

So, what about bed bugs here in the United States? They’re not just a problem across the pond or in sketchy massage parlors in Thailand. Pest control service Orkin has just released their list of the Top 50 Bed Bug Cities in the United States for the fourth year in a row and not surprisingly, large cities lead the pack.

According to their findings, “Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia hold onto the top three spots, ranking first, second and third, respectively for cities with most bed bugs. Greensboro, N.C. saw the largest jump this year, moving up twenty-five spots into the Top Twenty, with Milwaukee (#25) moving up the list by fifteen and Tampa (#31) moving up by ten.”

NOTE: Orkin’s bed bug cities list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where they performed the most bed bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2022 – Nov. 30, 2023. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

So, what U.S. cities have the most bed bugs? Here are the top 20:

  1. Chicago
  2. New York
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Cleveland-Akron, OH
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Detroit
  7. Washington, D.C. (+2)
  8. Indianapolis (-1)
  9. Charlotte (+5)
  10. Champaign, IL (+1)
  11. Columbus, OH (-1)
  12. Cincinnati (+1)
  13. Atlanta (+3)
  14. Grand Rapids, MI (-2)
  15. Denver
  16. Baltimore (-8)
  17. Richmond, VA (+9)
  18. Greensboro, N.C. (+25)
  19. Louis (+6)
  20. Youngstown (+7)

Check out Orkin’s full Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list here.

According to Orkin, “Amid the Paris Bed Bug craze, travelers are more concerned than ever with avoiding these stealthy pests. As Americans look towards travel in 2024 it is critical to know how to identify and thoroughly check for bed bugs in hotel rooms (both internationally and domestically) while being careful not to bring the pests home with them.”

To help travelers stay safe, Orkin is offering simple strategies to inspect for bed bugs when you check into your hotel room.

During travel, they recommend using the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to inspect for bed bugs:

  • 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 30-45 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

Not sure how to identify bed bugs? Here’s what to look for, via WebMD: “Bedbugs are insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans. Adult bedbugs are reddish-brown, wingless, and about the size of an apple seed. They are flat with oval-shaped bodies. Young bedbugs, or nymphs, are smaller and can appear translucent or yellowish in color. If nymphs have not been recently fed, due to their coloring, they can be almost impossible to spot. Bedbug eggs are tiny and white.”

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene offers up more tips for avoiding bed bugs when you travel, including these important packing and prep tips:

• Use hard-cased luggage if possible. It is more difficult for bed bugs to attach to rigid materials than to fabric.
• Pack your clothing in re-sealable plastic bags. Plastic bags are available in up to 22-gallon sizes in hardware and other stores. Bring extra bags in a variety of sizes for items you buy on your trip.
• Pack a small, bright flashlight to inspect your room when you arrive.
• Don’t spray insect repellent or other pesticides on your luggage or clothing. They aren’t effective against bed bugs, and they may pose health hazards.

Check out their full list of tips here.

Wherever your 2024 travels take you, make sure you’re prepared with these tips and sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!

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1 Comment On "Heads Up Travelers: These Are the Top 50 Bed Bug Cities in the United States"
  1. Jack|

    I always carry a UV portable flashlight when traveling, after check in the hotel I use this Device to inspect any bedbugs signs around my hotel bed.

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