Chicago Tops Orkin's Bed Bug Cities List

Chicago Tops Orkin's Bed Bug Cities List

For the second year in a row, Chicago ranked No. 1 on the list, followed by Philadelphia and New York City.


ATLANTA — For the second year in a row, Chicago topped Orkin's Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List, with Philadelphia and New York moving into the second and third place spots, respectively.

These two Northeast cities saw the largest jumps, with Philadelphia moving up 12 spots and New York moving up nine. Rounding out the top five cities are Detroit at No. 4 and Baltimore at No. 5.

As for newcomers to the list, Harrisburg, Pa., landed at No. 42, and Lincoln, Neb., snuck in at No. 50.

Orkin’s list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2020, to Nov. 30, 2021. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments. To view the full list, click here.

As consumers plan for travel in 2022 amid the evolving pandemic, it's easy to forget that bed bugs are still a threat, Orkin reminds travelers. Taking into consideration staffing shortages associated with the hospitality industry, it might be the case that bed bug introductions are not being monitored as often as desired, the company says, which is why diligent examination is key.

Typically, bed bugs are three-sixteenths of an inch long, red to dark brown in color and mostly nocturnal insects that come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping humans. These pests are hematophagous, which means blood is their only food source. They can travel from place to place with ease, clinging to items such as luggage, purses and other personal belongings.

“Bed bugs are a concern for everyone because they are master hitchhikers, traveling home with people when they likely don't realize it,” said Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist. “Their nature of hiding in difficult-to-find cracks and crevices can make them hard to control, which is why involving a trained professional at the sight of an introduction is recommended.”

Bed bugs are known for rapid population growth. Females can deposit one to five eggs a day and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in their lifetime. They can survive for several months while waiting for their next blood meal, so they're likely to emerge when a food source, e.g., humans, becomes available.

“Unfortunately, many hospitality businesses are facing staffing shortages, and while the industry remains committed to cleanliness, now more than ever, travelers should be mindful of bed bug sightings and proactive in inspection efforts,” said Hottel.