Bedbugs have a tendency to hitch rides from one location to the next.

New Report Ranks Top U.S. Cities for Bedbug Infestations

Bedbugs are making a comeback. Once thought to be all but eradicated from the United States following World War II, the creepy crawlies are, according to Memphis, Tenn.-based pest control company Terminix, regaining a foothold in the nation, thanks in part to increasing international travel and other factors. The company says the pests are shutting down office buildings and clothing stores and invading homes in cities across the country, but in some definitely more than others.

The company released a report that says while no one is safe from these pests, new data shows 15 cities stand above the rest as the most bedbug-infested cities in the United States.

The list is topped by New York and includes other major cities such as Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Surprisingly, Ohio receives the dubious distinction as the most bedbug-infested state, with three cities in the top 10 and four in the top 15.

Terminix said it developed its top 15 list by compiling and analyzing market-specific call volume about bedbugs to the 350 Terminix service centers throughout the country. Given that data, the 2010 most bedbug-infested cities include:

1. New York
2. Philadelphia
3. Detroit
4. Cincinnati
5. Chicago
6. Denver
7. Columbus, Ohio
8. Dayton, Ohio
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Los Angeles
11. Boston
12. Indianapolis
13. Louisville, Ky.
14. Cleveland
15. Minneapolis, Minn.

''It's no surprise that highly trafficked cities such as New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles are on the list,'' said Paul Curtis, an entomologist for Terminix. "It's the bedbug problems in cities like Dayton and Louisville that prove bedbugs are back and can pop up anywhere. The bedbug problems in these cities outpace markets of far greater size despite their having a fraction of the population and typically fewer travelers and hotels.”

Because of the bedbugs’ tendency to hitch rides from one location to the next, high-traffic areas such as hotels, motels, airplanes, and cruise ships are especially susceptible to infestations. Terminix said travelers should use the following tips to protect themselves from bedbugs:

  • Check headboards, mattresses, and box springs for bedbugs and the dark blood spots they leave behind.
  • Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture.
  • Avoid unpacking clothing and storing your clothing in the hotel’s furniture drawers.
  • Store baggage on a luggage rack as far from the bed as possible.
  • Vacuum suitcases when returning, and immediately wash clothing in hot water.

Consumers do not have to travel in order to bring a bedbug infestation into the home. According to Terminix, reports of bedbug infestations in office buildings and retail shops are on the rise, and homeowners should use the following tips to protect themselves:

  • Inspect furniture, antiques, used appliances, or consignment items for signs of bedbugs before bringing them into the home.
  • Never pick up used mattresses or furniture left curbside.
  • Inspect clothing for bedbugs and wash (in hot water) new items in hot water after bringing them into the house.
  • Use zippered encasements on infested mattresses and box springs.
  • If you suspect you have bedbugs, have your home inspected by a trained professional. Bedbugs cannot be controlled by over-the-counter treatments.

Terminix, a division of The ServiceMaster Company, employs 9,000 associates across 350 service centers and serves more than 2.8 million customers in 45 states. For more information, visit

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    July/August 2019


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