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New Terminix Top 15 ranking shines light on critters that hide in the dark

Annual list identifies where bedbugs bite most across U.S.

New York maintained its spot atop the Terminix Most Bedbug Infested Cities ranking, released by the company. The rest of the list saw both the reshuffling of some cities that appeared on the company’s initial 2010 list as well as a couple of locations making an appearance for the first time.

Terminix, the country’s largest provider of pest control services, has seen an increase in the prevalence of bedbugs in most states during the past year. The company expects bedbugs to continue to plague the nation this summer as travelers and homeowners encounter the tiny pests.

The 2011 most bedbug-infested cities include: New York, Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Columbus, Ohio, Dayton, Ohio, Baltimore
Louisville, Ky., and Dallas.

The list was created by compiling data from the 350 Terminix branches across the country. The company evaluated complaint calls from customers as well as confirmed cases by service professionals when creating the ranking.

Baltimore, Dallas and San Francisco appear on the list for the first time this year, replacing Indianapolis, Cleveland and Minneapolis. Cities not appearing on the list may still encounter bedbug infestations as most cities and states have reported bedbug activity during the last year.

"The Memorial Day holiday, marking the unofficial start to the summer vacation travel season, is quickly approaching so it’s very important for the general public to be educated on the warning signs that indicate bedbugs may be present on the road and at home," said Paul Curtis, entomologist for Terminix. "This year’s ranking gives credence to the fact that major American cities are certainly at risk, but bedbugs aren’t found only in big, metropolitan areas," Curtis said. "You can find them almost anywhere, in any city or state."

A national epidemic that has plagued homeowners, hotels, apartments and even retail centers over the past year, the bedbug problem is growing in scope and severity according to Terminix, and the movement of pests isn’t expected to slow anytime soon.

"Bedbugs pose a growing health concern," Curtis added. "Their bites may cause itchy welts and rashes, but they may also go undetected for weeks or months in a home as they quickly reproduce. It’s important for consumers to know the signs and have their home inspected by a professional."

As travelers prepare to hit the road for Memorial Day, they should use the following tips from Terminix to protect themselves from bedbugs:

  • Check hotel headboards, mattresses and box springs for bedbugs and dark blood spots.
  • Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture.
  • Avoid unpacking clothing and storing your clothing in the hotel’s furniture drawers.
  • Store baggage on a luggage rack as far from the bed as possible.
  • Vacuum suitcases when returning home, and immediately wash clothing in hot water.
  • If you suspect your hotel has bedbugs, ask for a change of rooms. Bedbugs should only be treated by a trained pest control professional.