Bought Mattress Bugs? Charlotte Metro Is Amongst 2021’s High Cities

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CHARLOTTE, NC – Charlotte is known for a lot: it’s a major financial center, home to the Charlotte Hornets and Carolina Panthers, and has a major international airport that is a gateway to the world.

But here’s one thing you probably won’t associate with Charlotte: bed bugs.

It turns out that these tiny hitchhiking pests are very fond of our city, as shown by the latest numbers from Orkin of Atlanta, a company that specializes in pest control services.

In fact, according to Orkin, Charlotte was ranked 11th on the 2021 list – nine places more than last year.

It’s not the only North Carolina city to make the list. Raleigh is in 17th place this year, three places down from last year, and Greensboro comes in 34th, nine places down from 2020.

Cities were ranked by where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments between December 1, 2019 and November 30, 2020. The ranking includes both private and commercial treatments.

So why share this creepy, crawling reveal now?

In just a few days, the Professional Pest Management Alliance will start Bed Bug Awareness Week, which will take place from June 6 to 12. The aim of the campaign is to help people recognize bed bug infestations and know how to contain them.

The number of those keen to travel is also growing as more Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19.

On Memorial Day weekend, the Transportation Security Administration screened approximately 7.1 million people at U.S. airports. Around 1.9 million people traveled on Sunday – eight times more than on the same day in 2020.

With bed bugs commonly associated with travel, people need to stay vigilant – especially after months of coronavirus-related restrictions and bans, according to Cindy Mannes, executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance.

“Bed bugs can survive for several months without a blood meal and could be hungry if they survived unnoticed after fewer trips amid the pandemic,” Mannes said in a press release.

Still want to travel? Here’s a look at the top 10 bed bug cities of 2021, according to Orkin:

  1. Chicago, Illinois
  2. Baltimore, Maryland
  3. Washington, DC
  4. Detroit, Michigan
  5. Columbus, Ohio
  6. Cleveland, Ohio
  7. Indianapolis, Indiana
  8. Cincinnati, Ohio
  9. Los Angeles, California
  10. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Check out the full list of the top cities for bed bugs.

What is a bed bug? These insects are tiny – just under a quarter of an inch long, according to Orkin. They are usually dark brown or red in color and are hematophagous, which means that blood is their only source of food. Bed bugs ingest blood meals from sleeping people and can easily travel from place to place and stash in things like luggage, handbags, and other personal belongings.

If you are planning on traveling this summer, there are a few things you can do to keep bed bugs from coming home. Orkin recommends that people follow the “SLEEP” method to control possible bed bug infestation:

  • S: Examine the room for signs of infestation. Look for small, black, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in upholstered furniture, and behind headboards. Bed bugs can even hide in power outlets and picture frames.
  • L: Lift and search in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • E: Lift the luggage off the bed and the wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on shelves.
  • E: Examine your luggage carefully when repackaging and after returning from a trip. Always keep luggage away from the bed. Also, examine all used furniture and clothing before bringing them to your home and check them out after guests visit.
  • P: When you return, put all of your clothes that are suitable for tumble drying in the tumble dryer on the highest setting for at least 45 minutes.

If you need more guidance on getting bed bugs out of your home, the Environmental Protection Agency has a step-by-step guide on how to assess and treat the infestation.

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