Bed Bugs: The Most Infested Cities in the US

Since the mid-1800s, Chicago has been known as the “Windy City,” but now for the second year in a row, the Illinois city has earned a rather dubious distinction – the worst city in the United States for bed bugs.

iStock_000023599356SmallAfter being ranked number two in 2012, Chicago jumped over that year’s first-place city, Cincinnati, Ohio and has held tight to the number one spot, according to a recent report from pest control company Orkin.

The bed bug problem even persuaded Chicago city officials to pass an ordinance in July 2013, declaring the bugs a nuisance. The ordinance aims to end the spread of bed bugs by requiring property landlords to hire professional exterminators when their buildings are infested.

The Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance requires condo associations to have formal management plans for detection, inspection and pest treatment. The ordinance also mandates the disposal of infested materials including bedding, clothing and furnishings.

“While studies show that bed bugs do not spread disease, the physical and mental health consequences are well documented and of serious public concern,” says Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison. “Once bed bugs are inside your home or business, they can reproduce quickly and can travel from place to place in personal belongings and even on people. They can also move from place to place on their own, independently of objects.”

Bed bug infestations are also a financial burden on society, says the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Although the exact dollar amount is not known, the economic losses from health care, lost wages, lost revenue and reduced productivity can be substantial,” according to officials.

Orkin ranks the top 50 bed bug cities by the number of treatments the pest company performed in each location from January to December 2013:

    1. Chicago
    1. Los Angeles
    2. Columbus, Ohio
    3. Detroit
    4. Cincinnati
    5. Cleveland/Akron/Canton
    6. Dayton
    7. Washington D.C.
    8. Denver
    9. Indianapolis
    10. Richmond/Petersburg, Va.
    11. Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, N.C.
    12. Dallas/Ft. Worth
    13. Syracuse, N.Y.
    14. Atlanta
    15. Houston
    16. New York City
    17. Seattle/Tacoma
    18. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose
    19. Boston
    20. Milwaukee
    21. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
    22. Nashville
    23. Pittsburgh
    24. Charlotte
    25. San Diego
    26. Baltimore
    27. Phoenix
    28. Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa
    29. Charleston/Huntington, W. Va.
    30. Knoxville, Tenn.
    31. Louisville, Ky.
    32. Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, Mich.
    33. Hartford/New Haven, Conn.
    34. Champaign/Springfield, Ill.
    35. Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville, S.C.
    36. Omaha, Neb.
    37. Buffalo, N.Y.
    38. Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, Neb.
    39. Lexington, Ky.
    40. Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, Calif.
    41. Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colo.
    42. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y.
    43. Minneapolis/St. Paul
    44. Honolulu
    45. Toledo, Ohio
    46. Peoria/Bloomington, Ill.
    47. Davenport, Iowa/Moline, Ill.
    48. New Orleans
    49. Kansas City

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