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The Windy City, which welcomes more than 48 million visitors annually, took first place on Orkin’s list of 50 Bed Bug Cities on Monday because of the most bug infestation in the country.
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In addition to a bevy of annual visitors, the city has a transit system that carries 1.7 million passengers every weekday, creating “a bed bug dream” according to Rollins Inc.’s Pest Control Service.
Right behind the tourist center are Baltimore and Washington, DC, in second and third place. Detroit followed by Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Cincinnati; Los Angeles; and Grand Rapids, Michigan round out the top 10.
For the first time, six new cities were added to the list, including South Bend, Indiana; Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Louisville, Kentucky. Meanwhile, Denver and Charleston, South Carolina found their way into the top 20.
Bed bugs are dark brown and 3/16 inch long. According to Orkin, they are mostly nocturnal insects that can easily move from place to place through items like luggage, purses, and other personal belongings.
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Although the world is in the midst of an ongoing health crisis, Orkin said bed bugs still pose a major threat “and should be a priority for everyone,” especially those looking to travel.
“Bed bugs are a problem for everyone because they are hitchhikers and they travel home with people when they are unlikely to realize it,” said orkin entomologist Ben Hottel.
And eliminating them is not an easy task.
Known for their rapid population growth, bedbugs can survive for a long time, which Orkin says can lead to a difficult and costly process when attempting to get rid of them.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, getting rid of bed bugs on a home or apartment can cost owners anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. However, the price of each destruction can vary widely based on a number of factors, Judy Black, Rollins’ vice president of quality assurance and technical services, told FOX Business.
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“The cost of a bedbug treatment depends on several factors, including the size of the area affected and the severity of the infestation,” Black said. “There is no single treatment plan.”
However, to prevent a major infection, it is important to address the situation quickly and correctly.
“Simply vacuuming or washing bedding doesn’t do the job, especially if bed bugs are escaping the vacuum bag (which they can!),” She added. “If homeowners fail to identify the potential source and remove bedbugs from their homes, the chances of re-infestation are much higher and therefore the costs of treatment higher.”
Orkin’s 2021 list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where the company performed the most bed bug treatments from December 2019 to November 30, 2020.