four Michigan cities make annual record for many mattress bug infestations

4 Michigan cities make annual list for most bed bug infestations

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Four Michigan cities, including Grand Rapids, have landed an annual Orkin list of the worst cities for bed bug infestations.

The list is based on treatment data from metropolitan areas where the company performs the most bed bug treatments. It’s not an exact science, but it does illustrate which cities are struggling the most with infestation.

Chicago is again the worst city, followed by New York City, Philadelphia, Cleveland/Akron and Los Angeles.

Detroit, which was #4 on the 2021 list, finished sixth this time. Grand Rapids dropped one spot from 11th to 12th. Flint came in at number 21 and Lansing at number 42.

But why does a medium-sized city like Grand Rapids consistently struggle with more bed bug problems than larger cities like Atlanta, Denver, and Seattle—all of which are lower on Orkin’s list? According to the bug experts, no particular reason.

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“Bed bugs are extremely resilient, which makes them difficult to control,” Orkin entomologist Ben Hottel said in a press release. “Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are visible to the naked eye but are excellent at hiding.”

While Michigan’s cold winters typically kill most insect pests, bed bugs are a hearty breed. According to Michigan Department of Community HealthBed bugs can survive for several days in freezing temperatures and even short periods of time in temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bed bugs can also survive for long periods of time without eating (or biting) to let you know they are there. According to the MDCH, bed bugs can survive “up to a year without blood meals.”

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So what do cities like Grand Rapids need to quell bed bug infestations? According to Hottel, the biggest factor is more people taking precautions to prevent spread and taking the right action when found.

“While it’s important to be aware of bed bug infestations in hotels, taking precautions in other aspects of travel is also important,” Hottel said. “Cabs, buses and airplanes are also common hideouts for bed bugs, giving these pests a chance to ride along with unsuspecting travelers. Regular inspection of clothing and luggage during travel can help detect bed bug infestations in their early stages.”

Whether you are traveling or at home, you can check that you are not harboring an infestation. Hottel said bed bugs have hiding spots and leave some telltale clues that they’re there. Around the bed, check the seams of your mattress and behind baseboards or headboards. Bed bugs are also known to hide behind electrical outlets or picture frames.

To keep your home safe, it’s best to reduce clutter in your home to provide fewer hiding spots and examine all used furniture before bringing it indoors. It is also recommended to do a bed bug check after you have guests or guests who are staying overnight.

Another important key is not to take them home when you travel. Check your hotel rooms upon arrival and keep your luggage away from places where bed bugs would hide, including the bed. When you get home, run your clothes in the dryer on the highest setting for at least 30 minutes to kill hitchhikers.

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