REPORT: Cincinnati ranks #1 for bed bugs

Bed bugs on suitcase
Bed bugs on suitcase

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati maintains its position as the #1 city for bed bugs, according to a report released by Orkin on Friday.

1. Cincinnati
2. Chicago
3. Detroit
4. Denver
5. Los Angeles
6. Columbus, Ohio
7. Dallas
8. Washington, D.C.
9. New York City
10. Richmond, VA

"The changes in some cities' rankings show bed bugs continue to be a problem in most areas of the U.S.," said Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. "Several of the top 50 cities have large, busy airports, and there could be a correlation between increased travel and bed bug activity. The changes could also be because the bed bug population is increasing overall, or even because the public is becoming more aware of bed bugs and has become better adept at identifying them."

Bed bugs can multiply quickly, so early detection is critical to preventing a larger infestation. And since infestations can be difficult to control, Orkin advises vacationers to take the proper precautions before enjoying spring break activities to avoid contact with and spreading the blood-suckers.

"Bed bugs can be found in other places than the bedroom," warns Dr. Harrison. "They're great hitchhikers and tend to settle where people sleep, particularly in hotel rooms, but they can also crawl into personal belongings and make their way into planes, gyms, offices, stores and worse, your home."

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, bed bugs can carry more than 30 different human pathogens, but there is no evidence that bed bugs can transmit diseases. Their bites can, however, leave itchy welts on their victims. Red marks or swelling may also develop.

"One thing that's not a factor is sanitation," said Dr. Harrison. "Be sure to do some investigating when you arrive at your hotel, whether it's a one-star or a five-star property. Bed bugs are nocturnal and resemble apple seeds in size and color, so check mattress seams, sheets and furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames for small reddish-brown spots and lightly-colored molted bed bug skins."

When traveling, think of the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to remember the following action steps to help avoid bringing bed bugs home with you:

  • Survey surfaces for signs of an infestation, such as tiny rust-colored spots on bed sheets, mattress tags and seams and bed skirts.
  • Lift and look for all bed bug hiding spots, including underneath the mattress, bed frame, headboard and furniture. Typically, they come out at night to feed, but during the day, they are most likely found within a five-foot radius of the bed.
  • Elevate your luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed and wall, since bed bugs can often hide behind head boards, artwork, picture frames and electrical outlet panels.
  • Examine your luggage carefully while repacking and when you return home. Always keep luggage off the bed and store it in a closet or other area, far away from your bedroom.
  • Place all your clothing from your luggage immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from travel.

Orkin says their bed bug business is up 33-percent over 2010.

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