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Set between Maryland and Virginia and defined by its neoclassical monuments and buildings, the District of Columbia secured the top spot Monday for the city crawling with the most bedbugs, according to pest control service Orkin.
The city, with an estimated population over 700,000, surpassed Baltimore, which remained a frontrunner for the last three years on Orkin’s 2020 list of the Top 50 Bed Bug Cities.
However, Baltimore held strong at spot number two. For the first time, Pittsburgh and Champaign, Illinois, both broke into the top 20 while Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Toledo, Ohio, joined the top-50 list. Meanwhile, Flint, Michigan, which joined the list in 2018, saw the biggest shift moving from spot 16 down to 31.
“While bedbugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat to households,” said Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist. “They are excellent hitchhikers, and they reproduce quickly, which makes it nearly impossible to prevent bedbugs. Sanitation has nothing to do with where you’ll find them.”
Bedbugs are known for rapid population growth and can survive for long periods of time, which can make for a difficult and costly process when trying to eliminate them, according to Orkin, which is owned by Rollins Inc.
To put this daunting expense in perspective, hotels spend an average of $6,383 per bedbug incident, the Atlanta-based pest control service said.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, clearing out a home or apartment of bedbugs can run owners anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. However, the price of each extermination can differ greatly depending on numerous factors, Chelle Hartzer, technical services manager for Orkin, told FOX Business Tuesday.
"The cost of any bedbug treatment depends on several factors, including the size of the affected area and the severity of infestation," Hartzer said. "There is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan. Bedbugs can multiply quickly, so it’s important to address the problem quickly and correctly to prevent a larger infestation. Simply vacuuming or washing linens won’t get the job done, especially if bedbugs escape from the vacuum bag (which they can do!)."
However, the quicker a homeowner detects the problem, the better off they will be financially, according to Hartzer.
"If homeowners don’t identify the potential source and rid the house of bedbugs, the chances of re-infestation are much higher and thus treatment costs will be higher," Hartzer added.
Here are Orkin’s top 10 bedbug cities based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bedbug treatments from Dec. 1, 2018 – Nov. 30, 2019.
Bedbugs are typically 4-5 mm in length and have a red to dark brown color. These tiny critters can travel from place to place in luggage, purses and other belongings, according to Orkin.
Known for their rapid growth, females can deposit one to five eggs a day and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in their lifetime. They can live for more than 300 days as long as it's under normal room temperatures and they have an adequate food supply, Orkin said.