Chicago tops checklist of cities for mattress bug infestations


Chicago topped the table in Orkin’s annual list of the most bed bug infested cities, the company said on Monday.

Orkin uses the number of treatments in a given metro area to determine the annual schedule. The data, which was compiled from December 2019 to November 2020, included both private and commercial service requests.

Chicago jumped two points to take the top spot. The Windy City traded places with Washington DC at the top of the list. Baltimore remains in second place. The top 5 are rounded off by Detroit and Columbus.

“Bed bugs are a problem for everyone because they are hitchhikers and travel home with people when they are unlikely to realize it,” said Ben Hottel, an orkin entomologist. “Their way of hiding in hard-to-find cracks and crevices, once inserted into a room, can make them difficult to control. Therefore, it is recommended that a trained professional be consulted upon viewing an insertion.”

Orkin gave travelers the following advice to avoid bed bugs in hotels and rentals.

  • Examine the room for signs of infestation. Look for tiny, black, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in soft furniture, and behind headboards. You can even hide in power outlets and picture frames!
  • Lift up the hiding places of the bed bugs and look inside: the mattress, box spring bed, and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures, and even torn wallpaper.
  • Lift the luggage off the bed and away from the wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.
  • Carefully examine your luggage while you are repacking it and when you return home from a trip. Always keep your luggage away from the bed. Also, double-check all used furniture and clothing before bringing them to your home, and double-check after guests visit.
  • After you return home, place any tumble dryer-safe clothes in your luggage on the highest setting for at least 45 minutes.

Here are the top 50 cities for bed bug calls to Orkin:

  1. Chicago (+2)
  2. Baltimore
  3. Washington, DC (-2)
  4. Detroit (+3)
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. Cleveland, OH (+5)
  7. Indianapolis (+2)
  8. Cincinnati
  9. Los Angeles (-5)
  10. Grand Rapids (+8)
  11. Charlotte (+9)
  12. New York (-6)
  13. Atlanta (-3)
  14. Philadelphia (-2)
  15. Champaign, IL (+1)
  16. Dallas (+1)
  17. Raleigh, NC (-3)
  18. Charleston, WV (+8)
  19. Pittsburgh
  20. Denver (+7)
  21. Flint (+7)
  22. San Francisco (-9)
  23. Greenville, SC (-9)
  24. Norfolk (-9)
  25. St. Louis (+3)
  26. Richmond, VA (-5)
  27. Toledo, OH (+23)
  28. Dayton, OH (+21)
  29. Buffalo, NY (-5)
  30. Omaha (+2)
  31. Nashville (-2)
  32. Milwaukee (+1)
  33. Fort Wayne, IN (+13)
  34. Greensboro, NC (-9)
  35. Cedar Rapids, IA (+6)
  36. Knoxville, TN (-13)
  37. Houston (+1)
  38. Davenport, IA (-1)
  39. Tampa (-5)
  40. Youngstown (new to the list)
  41. South Bend (new to the list)
  42. Phoenix (+3)
  43. Lexington (new to the list)
  44. Seattle (-1)
  45. Orlando (-9)
  46. Louisville (new to the list)
  47. Miami (-15)
  48. Lansing (-18)
  49. Peoria-Bloomington (new to the list)
  50. Minneapolis-St. Paul (new to the list)