Everyone knows not to let the bedbugs bite, but how big of a problem are they, really? According to Orkin Pest Control’s 2014 Bed Bug Cities List, it depends on where you live.
Each year, the pest control service ranks the cities with the worst bed bug problems, based on the number of treatments it performed between January and December. For the third year in a row, Chicago had the worst bedbug problem, while Detroit, Columbus, and Los Angeles following close behind.
However, these cities aren’t the only ones who should have reason to worry about these blood-sucking parasites.
“Bed bugs are a serious issue across the country, and they’re very difficult to control,” said Ron Harrison, Orkin Entomologist and Technical Services Director, in a press release. “Bed bugs are not limited to any level of cleanliness or income, which means they can be found in any home or hotel. They’re great hitchhikers, and people often bring them inside on their clothes or in their luggage.”
There’s more bad news, too. Bedbugs are increasingly becoming more prevalent. According to an the latest data available on the pest control industry, Americans spent about $446 million getting rid of bedbugs in 2013, as compared to the approximate $70 million they spent in 2004.
Luckily, there are certain preventative measures homeowners can take to guard against bedbugs. First, they must never pick up furniture from the side of the road. Second, they must always check to make sure the hotels they stay in when traveling aren’t infested with bedbugs. Third, and perhaps most important, they’d be wise to purchase bed bug covers for their mattresses and box springs.
Homeowners would also be wise to inspect their houses for bed bugs regularly, checking the places where they’re known to hide during the day, such as mattress seams and behind baseboards or electrical outlets. Decreasing the clutter in a home could also make inspections easier.
While those living in Orkin’s top ranked cities certainly have more of a reason to be anxious, homeowners elsewhere would still be wise to check for the bugs. Although they may not spread disease, as most mistakenly believe, they can still be quite the annoying problem. An ounce of prevention is, after all, worth a pound of cure.