CHICAGO (CBS) — After topping the list for four straight years, Chicago is no longer number one in the nation for bed bugs infestations.
“This year, I’m excited to say Chicago has improved by two spots, it dropped down to number three, Baltimore comes in at number one,” said John Kane, entomologist, Midwest Division Technical Services Manager, Orkin.
Kane said that could be interpreted two ways. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.
“There’s a couple different ways to interpret this. The optimistic way is that it indicates an improvement in Chicago or the situation in Baltimore has gotten worse.”
The list is based on bedbug data from the metro areas where the company performed the most residential and commercial treatments from Dec. 1, 2015 to Nov. 30, 2016.
Despite Chicago’s improvement, Kane said Orkin has seen a 10 percent increase across the nation as a whole.
“I believe the education part of it has caught up with the bed bugs growth,” Kane said. “We’ll see them taper off once everyone knows what to look for, how to recognize those warning signs, not to panic and do the wrong thing.”
Bed Bugs have been making their way back into human dwellings since the late 1990s, Orkin said. Recent surveys by the National Pest Management Association said 99.6 percent of pest professionals surveyed, treated for bedbugs last year. Another NPMA survey found that one out of five Americans has had a bedbug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bedbugs.
“The urban myth is that bed bugs are a sign of uncleanliness. That’s totally false,” Kane said. “They have been found in upscale homes and hotels, movie theaters, schools and in public transit. It doesn’t matter how clean or dirty a home is. It has nothing to do with a person’s hygiene. It’s really just an issue of bad luck. They sat down at a bus or a baseball game, at that point they could’ve gotten a hitchhiker that went home with them.”
Kane said as people learn more about bed bugs and what to look for, he predicts Chicago to continue moving down the list.
“Anytime your traveling or at home, anytime you’re interacting with a sleeping area, you should have your eyes open and recognize some of the tell tale signs. In bad infestations, they are easy to see but somehow people tune them out. Bed bugs feed on blood and when they excreet that blood, they leave behind a little black spot. So that’s a good sign. If you see a dead or live bed bug that’s a sign as well,” Kane said. “If you’re traveling or anytime you turn your bed down, change the lines, look for those little unexplained black spots.”
The top ten include Baltimore, Washington, DC, Chicago followed by New York, Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles, Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and San Francisco.