According to a new ranking released this week, Chicago has claimed the top spot on an interesting list, as it is now the metropolitan area with the highest number of bed bug treatment calls in the United States.
The rankings, released by Orkin, are based on the number of bed bug treatments conducted between Dec. 2019 and Nov. 2020.
“Despite less travel in 2020, bed bugs were still biting in Chicago, a popular hub for tourism,” the company said. “The Windy City usually welcomes more than 48 million visitors annually, and boasts a transit system of buses and railways that carries 1.7 million passengers on an average weekday – a dream for bed bugs.”
Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Detroit and Columbus round out the top five. Cleveland jumped up five spots to number six, and Indianapolis rose two spots to number seven on the list.
Champaign, home of the University of Illinois, rose one spot to number 15 on the list. The Peoria-Bloomington metro area is new to the list this year, moving up to number 49.
“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 once introduced into a room can make them hard to control, which is why involving a trained professional at the sight of an introduction is recommended.”
In order to avoid bed bugs, Orkin provided several tips, including to survey hotel rooms for signs of an infestation. According to the company, tiny, black-colored stains on mattress seams, on soft furniture and behind headboards are telltale signs of bed bugs.
Bed bugs can also hide under mattresses, in box springs and other furniture.
Travelers are also advised to keep their luggage off the floor, putting it instead on a counter or in the bathroom.
After travelers return home, they are advised to put dryer-safe clothes into the dryer at its highest setting for at least 45 minutes.