Which Cities Have the Most Bed Bugs?

The effects of bed bugs can include psychological damage.
The effects of bed bugs can include psychological damage.

Until recently, most people in the United States had never seen a bed bug. However, bed bug infestation was very common in the US during the World War II. Thanks to improved hygiene and adoption of DDT, the bed bugs had all but vanished. Over the past decade, the tiny, blood sucking nuisance have made a dramatic comeback in the country, increasingly infesting homes, hostels, health care facilities, public transportation, and dormitories. Sometimes they occur in movie theaters, laundries, and office buildings. The increased presence of bed bugs in the US is attributed to change in pest control practices, ineffective insecticides, and decreasing societal vigilance. But which cities in the US have it the worst?

10. San Francisco

Bed bugs are a major public health concern in big cities including San Francisco. The number of bed bug cases is on the rise in the city according to the officials at the Public Health Department. The observation by the health department is supported by the city’s ranking in the list of top 50 bed bug cities by Orkin. San Francisco ranks number ten, having moved 4 places up from the previous ranking in 2016. The number of reported cases has jumped by over 25% over the last 2 years. Public Health officials warn that it may be a matter of time before San Francisco has a bigger problem with the pest.

9. Philadelphia

Philadelphia has moved 3 places down from position 6 to position 9 in the list top 50 cities with bed bugs in the US. Bed bugs are common in residential areas such as student hostels and residential apartments. The city launched a bed bug task force to help address the problem in some parts of the city. However, the cost of eradicating bed bugs in the city is relatively high, making it inaccessible to many.

8. Cincinnati

Bed bugs are a big problem in the Greater Cincinnati area. According to the survey conducted by the Cincinnati Health Survey, 14.5% of the residents of Cincinnati have experienced bed bugs in some capacity. The city was ranked number eight in the list of top 50 bed bug cities by Orkin, holding the same position for two years now. Self-treatment is common in Cincinnati, which might be the main reason for the spread of bed bugs. Most of the residents use over-the-counter prescriptions to treat the infestations rather than seeking professional help.

7. Detroit

Detroit was ranked number seven in the list of top 50 bed bug cities by Orkin, maintaining the same position in 2016 and 2017. Detroit has been actually moving down the last in the last four years. Just recently (2014) the city was ranked as the second most bed bug infested city in the US. The lower ranking comes as good news to hotel and motels looking to attract tourists visiting the Motor City. However, hotels will also have to work hard in order to convince travelers that they no longer play host to these menacing pests.

6. Los Angeles

Los Angeles ranks among the top ten cities in the US for bed bug infestation. L.A. was ranked number six by the Orkin, sliding four spots from 2016. Bed bug infestation is a big concern for the tenants of the residential apartment complexes around Los Angeles. In several instances, bed bug bites have resulted in hospitalization and mental anguish among the victims. Bed bug victims in L.A. have the right to compensation, with several law firms and bed bug lawyers at hand to assist the victims in filing a law suit.

5. Columbus

Prior to 2015, Columbus had registered a steady rise in ranks of the cities infested with bed bugs. However, in 2016, the city dropped two places down to number five, a position it maintained in 2017. The absence of public funding for bed bug awareness and eradication have hampered efforts to fight the pests in Columbus. Franklin County in Columbus leads with the number of bed bug infestation reports, making an area of focus in the city. To eradicate the pest, the City of Columbus has joined the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task whose aim is to prevent bed bug infestation.

4. New York

For years, New York, alongside Chicago, has been known as one of the Cities with the highest number of bed bug infestation. The presence of bed bugs in the city is no longer news to the residents and those who frequent the city. Today, going to the cinema at AMC Empire 25 in Times Tower, or AMC Theater in Harlem is like calling bed bugs to a feast. The invasion has also claimed some of the biggest names in the city including Niketown store on 57th street and also the Google’s headquarters. New York maintained the fourth place it held in 2016 ranking of the Top 50 Bed Bug Cities.

3. Chicago

For the fifth year in a row, Chicago has been ranked among the top cities with bed bug problems. However, the city has surrendered the top spot that it had held for four consecutive years, and now ranks position three in the US. Bed bugs have been such a menace in the city such that in early 2017, a man sued one of the Chicago hotels, claiming he was attacked by bed bugs while using their facility. In 2013, Chicago passed a law requiring landlords to give tenants brochures on bed bugs to help curb the growing bed bug problem. With the recent ranking, it seems the effort is bearing fruit

2. Washington, D.C.

Nearby Washington, D.C. came in second place after Baltimore. The city moved up one place from position three in 2016, signifying an upward trend in the last three years. In 2015, DC was not even in the top ten "Bed Bug Cities", as it had ranked 14 on Orkin’s list. The city health officials reported cases of bed bug infestations in D.C. department buildings and government offices. Savoy Elementary school in Washington DC reported several cases of bed bugs and had to close the school for professional cleaning and treatment.

1. Baltimore

In 20016, the City of Baltimore received several accolades in different categories. The city was one of the best places for creativity and for viewing Christmas lights. It was also one of the hottest destinations in the US. However, the celebrations were short lived when the Orkin, a pest control company based in Atlanta released the list of the “Top 50 Bed Bugs.” For the first time, Baltimore topped the list and also featured in the top five for the first time in six years.


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