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January 11, 2022

Philadelphia jumps to second place on Orkin's 2022 list of cities most infested with bed bugs

Residents who find the tiny insects in their homes should immediately wash all bedding and clothing at high temperatures

Philadelphia residents may want to double check and make sure that no bed bugs have moved into their homes.

The city had the second-most bed bug infestations among 50 others in the U.S. over the past year, trailing only Chicago for the top spot in the nation, according to Orkin. Philly made the biggest year-over-year jump, moving up 12 spots from No. 14 to No. 2 on the pest control company's 2022 list.

The annual "Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List" is based upon data from metro areas nationwide where the company performed the most treatments from December 2020 through November 2021. The data includes both residential and commercial treatments.

Harrisburg also experienced a surge in bed bug infestations over the past year, as Pennsylvania's state capital was a newcomer to this year's list at No. 42.

Below are the top 10 U.S. cities with the most infestations over the past year. 

1. Chicago, Ill.
2. Philadelphia, Pa.
3. New York, N.Y.
4. Detroit, Mich.
5. Baltimore, Md.
6. Indianapolis, Ind.
7. Washington, D.C.
8. Cleveland, Ohio
9. Columbus, Ohio
10. Cincinnati, Ohio

Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, measuring around a quarter-inch in length. The reddish-brown insects are predominantly nocturnal and take blood from sleeping humans, which is their only food source.

They can reproduce quickly, with females laying as many as five eggs per day and up to 500 in their lifetime. They are able to survive for up to a year without eating and typically emerge from their hiding spots when a food source becomes available.

Homeowners and renters are encouraged to regularly inspect their homes during the day. Bed bugs typically gather in mattress tags, seams and box springs, as well as behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets, wallpapers and picture frames. 

Experts advise decreasing clutter around one's home to make it easier to spot them. Inspections should be conducted anytime guests stay overnight or when previously-used furniture is brought into the home.

Given how easily bed bugs can travel by latching onto luggage and purses, thorough inspections should be conducted during and after a trip.

Travelers should always check their hotel room for signs of an infestation. Tiny, ink-colored stains on mattresses, in furniture and behind headboards are indications that bed bugs may be present.

All luggage should be kept away from beds and walls and placed in the bathroom or atop counters. Suitcases should be inspected carefully when repacking and returning home. Any clothing that can be dried should go in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home.

Bed bugs are difficult to remove once they are discovered and infestations can spread quickly. Anyone who finds the tiny insects in their homes should immediately wash all bedding and clothing at high temperatures to kill any bugs and eggs.

Putting sealed cases around mattresses, box springs and pillows will trap any bed bugs and prevent future infestations. Carpets should be vacuumed as well.

Pesticides may also be used to kill any bed bugs that are hiding, but all products should be reviewed before being used in a home. A professional exterminator should be called if a bed bug infestation continues to spread.

"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."

Orkin has also ranked Philadelphia as one of the seven-worst cities for rat infestations for the past two years.

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