Parasite Infested Dirty Linen In Bedroom
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These Are the Nation's Most Bedbug-Infested Cities

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Parasite Infested Dirty Linen In Bedroom
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Bet You're Itching to Know

If the thought of bed bugs just makes your skin crawl, then be extra careful if you’re traveling through these 25 cities, which ranked highest on Orkin’s list of the most bed bug-infested cities. The list is based on data about the locations where Orkin performed its most bed bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2020 through Nov. 30, 2021. Many of these cities are top tourism locations, so if you happen to travel through them, be extra careful in checking over your hotel sheets, and keep the following facts about bed bugs in mind.


Related: Best Places to Vacation if You Hate Mosquitoes and Black Flies (and Where to Avoid)

Norfolk,Virgina
DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto

25. Norfolk, Virginia

Most bed bugs measure about 3/16 inch long, making them difficult to spot. They’re usually red or darkish brown, and they’re nocturnal, meaning they most often snack on you while you’re sleeping.  


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Raleigh North Carolina Skyline
Mark Howard/istockphoto

24. Raleigh, North Carolina

Bed bugs are like mini hitchhikers, and they can easily cling to your luggage or purse, traveling home with you after you’ve stayed in an infested location. They particularly enjoy hiding in little cracks and crevices, where it’s very difficult to spot them.  


Related: 22 Cheap, Natural Ways to Rid Your Home of Pests


Flint, Michigan
DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto

23. Flint, Michigan

If a bed bug bites you, its bite looks very similar to other insect bites or even common skin rashes. The bites are often small lesions, and they might bleed from the center. When bed bugs eat your blood, they produce a saliva that thins your blood. The saliva creates an itching response in many people.  

Autumn in Charleston
DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto

22. Charleston, West Virginia

Those small, red bites may gradually become raised, and sometimes they turn into blisters. The bites are often positioned in a line, which might be because of a bed bug attempting to follow the line of a vein through your skin.  


Related: This Is the Unhappiest State in America


Greenville, South Carolina
SeanPavonePhoto/istockphoto

21. Greenville, South Carolina

If you have really bad luck and are bitten by lots of bed bugs, the bites can appear in clusters that resemble chickenpox. If the bites are close enough together, the whole area might look like a rash. With so many bites, it’s possible to develop anemia, which can cause you to feel tired. Blisters on the arms and legs are also common.  

Cityscape of downtown skyline and vintage incline in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
f11photo/istockphoto

20. Pittsburgh

What’s even creepier is that bed bugs are incredibly hardy and can survive for several months without a meal. Females can lay between one and five eggs each day, and a single female bed bug might lay up to 500 eggs in her life. You don’t want to carry these pests home with you.  


San Francisco
EarthScapeImageGraphy/istockphoto

19. San Francisco

One of the best ways to protect yourself from bed bugs is to be extra cautious when you travel. Because of COVID-19 and the staffing shortages that many hotels, motels, and other hospitality locations are facing, rooms might not be cleaned as thoroughly as they previously were. This means you need to be extra careful and learn how to spot bed bugs yourself.  


Related: 15 Ways to Repel Bugs Naturally (and Cheaply)


St. Louis arch
Maxine Weiss / istockphoto

18. St. Louis

Orkin uses the acronym SLEEP to help you remember what to look for when you’re traveling. SLEEP stands for Survey, Lift, Elevate, Examine, and Place. 

Denver Colorado skyscrapers snowy Longs Peak Rocky Mountains summer
milehightraveler/istockphoto

17. Denver

Start by surveying the entire room for any indication of a bed bug infestation. Look for little stains that resemble dots of ink. These stains are often found on mattress seams, behind headboards, and in any soft furniture. 


Dallas Skyline Aerial
Art Wager/istockphoto

16. Dallas-Fort Worth

Next, lift materials and look in the spots where bed bugs love to hide. Lift up the mattress and box spring and carefully inspect the areas underneath them. Lift up other furniture, including seat cushions, and look behind baseboards, wall decor and pictures, and any areas of torn wallpaper. 


Charlotte, North Carolina
Sean Pavone / istockphoto

15. Charlotte, North Carolina

It’s also important to elevate your luggage, and make sure that it’s positioned away from the beds and walls. In fact, it’s safest to place it on a counter or in the bathroom, where bed bugs are less common. 

Aerial view downtown Atlanta skyline
rodclementphotography/istockphoto

14. Atlanta

When you repack, be sure to carefully examine your luggage to make sure you don’t have any stowaways. Examine your luggage again once you’re home and unpacking. 


Aerial View of a large University in the Chicago Neighborhood of Hyde Park
Jacob Boomsma/istockphoto

13. Champaign, Illinois

Even if you haven’t spotted any bed bugs when you unpack, take extra steps to make sure you kill any bugs, just in case. You can do this by placing all clothing that’s dryer-safe in your dryer as soon as you get home. Put the dryer on its highest setting and let it run for at least 15 minutes. 


Los Angeles
istockphoto/shalunts

12. Los Angeles

If you should bring bed bugs home with you, don’t panic. You can get rid of them, but it’s a pretty intense process. It takes some time, so you’ll need to be patient, and if you travel often or have a cluttered home, getting rid of bed bugs can be more of a challenge. 


Grand Rapids Skyline with River and Bridge
Davel5957/istockphoto

11. Grand Rapids, Michigan

The earlier you spot bed bugs in your home, the easier it will be to remove them. Use a flashlight and look for them in common spots, like baseboards, near your mattress tags, in your bed frame, under paintings, in electrical outlets, and even in the joints of furniture. If you need help with this, consider hiring a professional.

Cincinnati skyline aerial view with Ohio river
pawel.gaul/istockphoto

10. Cincinnati

If you’ve spotted bed bugs in your home, you might choose to treat the issue yourself, or you might decide to hire a professional right away. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends going straight to a professional, since trying to unsuccessfully treat the problem yourself could let the bed bugs spread, making them more challenging to get rid of.


Related: DIY Disasters: 20 Repairs to Leave to the Pros

Aerial view of Downtown Columbus Ohio with Scioto river during sunset
espiegle/istockphoto

9. Columbus, Ohio

If you decide to try to treat the problem yourself, you’ll need to start by trapping as many bugs as possible. Vacuum your bed, dresser, carpets, and electronics, then seal up your vacuum bag and throw it away. Be sure to also clean out your vacuum. 


Cleveland Skyline of city downtown from the harbor.
tifonimages/istockphoto

8. Cleveland

Take the linens off your bed and seal them, along with any affected clothes. Wash them as soon as possible, and use the highest temperature settings on your washer and dryer. If you can’t put items in the dryer, seal them in bags for several months.

The United States Capitol building DC
f11photo/istockphoto

7. Washington, D.C.

Be thorough. You’ll need to clean all of your carpets, drapes, linents, and furniture. If you have furniture that you can’t clean, then throw it out right away. You’ll also need to clean any clutter, including items lying on your floor. Throw out as much as possible.

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA skyline on the White River
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

6. Indianapolis

There are several ways to kill bed bugs that involve chemical and non-chemical methods. If you want to avoid using chemicals, then you’ll need to use a steamer on your mattresses and couch, and pack up any infested items in bags and leave them in a car on a hot day. You can also kill bed bugs by gathering them in bags and then freezing the bags for at least four days.

View of the Pagoda at Patterson Park in Baltimore
ferrantraite/istockphoto

5. Baltimore

You can purchase many products to help kill bed bugs in your home. Be sure to choose a product that is EPA-registered. Always read all of the directions, including the warning label, and follow the instructions precisely. Be sure to consider whether the products are safe to use around kids and pets. 

Detroit Aerial Panorama
pawel.gaul/istockphoto

4. Detroit

Bed bugs are persistent, and even if you use products as directed, you may need to retreat the areas. Check the areas once a week and look for signs that bed bugs have been active. If you try multiple treatments and can’t kill off the bed bugs, it’s time to call in a professional.


Taxis in Times square with 7th avenue, new york city, manhattan
Eloi_Omella/istockphoto

3. New York

When hiring a professional, be sure that you’re hiring someone who has experience with bed bugs. Check the company’s credentials and be prepared for the company to make multiple visits.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA at Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

2. Philadelphia

Pest treatment professionals use a variety of methods to kill off and remove bed bugs from your home. They might take apart your furniture, use pesticides, and may also use vacuums and heat for a thorough treatment. 


Sunrise at Cloud Gate
lhongfoto/istockphoto

1. Chicago

Getting rid of bed bugs is a big job, and it’s best to avoid bringing the bugs into your home entirely. Being extra cautious when you travel and choosing a hotel with a good reputation and active cleaning staff can help to minimize your risk. People in the Windy City should know. Chicago has topped the list for the second year in a row.