Baltimore ranked #1 on 'Top 50 Bed Bug Cities' list

(Cropped Photo: CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert/MGN)

BALTIMORE (WBFF) – Baltimore was ranked number one on this year's "50 Bed Bug Cities" list, Orkin announced on Tuesday.

Washington, D.C. came in second, followed by Chicago and New York.

The pest control company says it based the ranking on treatment data collected from the areas it performed the most bed bug treatments between December 1, 2015 and November 30, 2016.

On last year’s list Baltimore was ranked #10. According to Orkin, this is the first year Baltimore has placed in the top five.

“We have more people affected by bed bugs in the United States now than ever before,” says Orkin Entomologist and Director of Technical Services Ron Harrison, Ph.D. “They were virtually unheard of in the U.S. 10 years ago."

Levi Brody with Brody Bros. Pest Control in Baltimore agrees.

“I’ve been working in the family business my entire life and I never saw bed bugs before the mid-90’s. It was unheard of. Now we’re doing several jobs a week,” said Brody.

Brody says reasons for the spike in bed bugs cannot be fully explained.

“I don’t think it’s the fact that we don't have DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) anymore that caused this resurgence. A lot of the products we have nowadays mimic what's in the active ingredients in DDT and that’s how they built up a resistance so quickly,” said Brody.

DDT was a pesticide first developed in the 1940s. The Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT in the 1970s due to its harmful effects on the environment, wildlife and potential human health risks.

Orkin recommends inspecting your home for signs of bed bugs on a regular basis, taking care to check mattress seams and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets and picture frames.

“People may have bed bugs and not know it, because many people have no physical reaction to bed bug bites,” Harrison says. “That’s why it’s important for people everywhere to inspect for bed bugs regularly.”

Brody says bed bugs are like hitchhikers.

“One bed bug hitchhikes on a shoe and they can lay five eggs a day. Egg to adult is 21 days in optimal conditions. They’re secretive. They’re in cracks and crevices hiding from you,” said Brody.

If traveling, Orkin suggest using its “S.L.E.E.P” method:

  • Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for black or brown spots on any furniture.
  • Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, bedskirt and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest place is in the bathroom.
  • Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.
  • Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

“Anyone can get bed bugs in their home," Harrison says. "They are not a sign of uncleanliness. Bed bugs only need blood to survive. We have treated for bed bugs in everything from million dollar homes to public housing."

This year’s full ranking:

  1. Baltimore (+9)
  2. Washington, D.C. (+1)
  3. Chicago (-2)
  4. New York
  5. Columbus, Ohio
  6. Los Angeles (-4)
  7. Detroit
  8. Cincinnati
  9. Philadelphia (-3)
  10. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (+4)
  11. Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (-2)
  12. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (-1)
  13. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio (-1)
  14. Indianapolis (+1)
  15. Dallas-Ft. Worth (-2)
  16. Atlanta (+3)
  17. Houston
  18. Buffalo, N.Y. (+2)
  19. Charlotte, N.C. (-3)
  20. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va. (+10)
  21. Knoxville, Tenn. (+3)
  22. Denver (-4)
  23. Nashville, Tenn. (-1)
  24. Pittsburgh (+5)
  25. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C. (-4)
  26. Phoenix (-3)
  27. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich. (+5)
  28. Boston (-3)
  29. Milwaukee (-3)
  30. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. (+12)
  31. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (+3)
  32. Dayton, Ohio (-4)
  33. Omaha, Neb. (+3)
  34. Seattle-Tacoma (-6)
  35. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (-4)
  36. Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (-1)
  37. St. Louis (+3)
  38. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa (+3)
  39. Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. (+11)
  40. Syracuse, N.Y. (+6)
  41. Louisville, Ky. (-2)
  42. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, N.C.
  43. Lexington, Ky. (-10)
  44. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla. (-6)
  45. Kansas City, Mo. (-1)
  46. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (-3)
  47. Salt Lake City, Utah
  48. Honolulu, Hawaii
  49. Las Vegas
  50. Portland, Ore.
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