U.S. “Top 50” Bed Bug Infested Cities

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As students return to college campuses, Terminix has released a list of the 50 most bed-bug ridden cities in America.

Bed bugs spread easily by hitching rides on luggage, backpacks and clothing, and can crawl through cracks in walls making shared dorm living areas extremely vulnerable to infestations. Senior director of bed bug services at Terminix, Rick Cooper observes: “Bed bugs go where people go, so they can be virtually anywhere”.

Where Are Bed Bugs Most Common?

The top five cities on this year’s most infested list include Los Angeles claiming the top spot, followed by Cleveland, Philadelphia, Detroit and New York City. Thirteen states had more than one city on the list, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

Terminix based its rankings on the number of requests received from each city in 2021*. The top 50 cities for bed bug infestations in the United States are:


1. Los Angeles, Calif.

18. Tampa, Fla.

35. South Bend, Ind.

2. Cleveland, Ohio

19. Louisville, Ky.

36. Miami, Fla.

3. Philadelphia, Pa.

20. Phoenix, Ariz.

37. Flint, Mich.

4. Detroit, Mich.

21. Dayton, Ohio

38. Shreveport, La.

5. New York, N.Y.

22. Denver, Colo.

39. Kansas City, Mo.

6. Chicago, Ill.

23. Oklahoma City, Okla.

40. Ft. Smith, Ark.

7. Dallas, Texas

24. Nashville, Tenn.

41. Springfield, Mo.

8. Indianapolis, Ind.

25. Boston, Mass.

42. Mobile, Ala.

9. Cincinnati, Ohio

26. Lexington, Ky.

43. Seattle, Wash.

10. Atlanta, Ga.

27. Orlando, Fla.

44. Milwaukee, Wis.

11. Columbus, Ohio

28. Little Rock, Ark.

45. San Diego, Calif.

12. Houston, Texas

29. Baltimore, Md.

46. Fresno, Calif.

13. San Francisco, Calif.

30. Charleston, W.Va.

47. Tulsa, Okla.

14. St. Louis, Mo.

31. Paducah, Ky.

48. Las Vegas, Nev.

15. Washington, D.C.

32. Toledo, Ohio

49. Sacramento, Calif.

16. Pittsburgh, Pa.

33. Birmingham, Ala.

50. Dothan, Ala.

17. Memphis, Tenn.

34. Grand Rapids, Mich.


Signs of Bed Bugs and Where to Look

A few ways to identify the presence of bed bugs include small blood smears on your sheets, a musty odor, reddish-brown blood spots on your mattress, and bed bugs themselves.

In dorm rooms, they tend to live in dressers, clothes, floorboards, couches and mattresses. When fully grown, bed bugs resemble the size, shape and color of an apple seed; however, students should also be on the lookout for recently hatched, cream-colored bed bugs (nymphs) hiding in their fitted sheets.

How to Protect Against Bed Bugs on Campus

Here are a few simple protective measures to help prevent the spread of bed bugs across campuses:

  • Add bed bug-proof encasements for your mattress, pillows and box spring to your back-to-school shopping list. Their protective casings will help prevent your bed from becoming a bed bug breeding ground.
  • Thoroughly search your new dorm room or apartment on move-in day. Take time to lift mattresses, move furniture and peek behind headboards for any signs of bed bugs, including discarded shells (molted exoskeletons); live or dead bugs at mattress seams or furniture joints; a sweet, musty odor; or small blood stains from previous bite victims.
  • Crack open your textbooks. Bed bugs have been known to travel from one place to the next via the “Second-Hand Textbook Express.”
  • Hot launder any borrowed or second-hand clothing (following labeled washing directions).
  • Resist the temptation to pick up discarded furniture. Although a free futon might be appealing, a lurking bed bug infestation is not.
  • Never leave backpacks or clothing on, under, or near your bed, chairs or upholstered furniture in your room or rooms you are visiting – it’s an easy way to unknowingly transfer hitchhiker bed bugs.
  • Don’t let your backpack come into contact with others — brief contact with an infested backpack can be an unwanted pest’s invitation to tag along.

For more information, visit Terminix.com or call 1-800-Terminix.

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Staff Reporter

FMIndustry.com covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.

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