Bed bug color icon. Human parasite. Insect pest. Isolated vector illustration

Contributed by Orkin, LLC

Chicago settled in for the second year in a row as the #1 city on Orkin’s 2022 Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List, with Philadelphia and New York moving into the second and third place spots, respectively. These two Northeast cities saw the largest jumps with Philadelphia moving up 12 spots and New York moving up nine spots. As for newcomers to the list, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, landed at #42 and Lincoln, Nebraska, barely snuck in at #50.

Over the last year, as travel began to resurge in the U.S., restless Americans — and bed bugs — were hitching rides across the country for a getaway. As consumers plan for travel in 2022 amid the evolving pandemic, it’s easy to forget that bed bugs are still very much a threat. Taking into consideration the staffing shortages associated with the hospitality industry, it might be the case that bed bug introductions are not being monitored as often as desired, which is why diligent examination is key.

The list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2020 – Nov. 30, 2021. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

1. Chicago

2. Philadelphia (+12)

3. New York (+9)

4. Detroit

5. Baltimore (-3)

6. Indianapolis (+1)

7. Washington, DC (-4)

8. Cleveland, OH (-2)

9. Columbus, OH (-4)

10. Cincinnati (-2)

11. Grand Rapids, MI (-1)

12. Los Angeles (-3)

13. Champaign, IL (+2)

14. Atlanta (-1)

15. Charlotte, N.C. (-4)

16. Dallas-Ft. Worth

17. Denver (+3)

18. Louis, MO (+7)

19. San Francisco (+3)

20. Pittsburg (-1)

21. Greenville, S.C. (+2)

22. Charleston, W.V. (-4)

23. Flint, MI (-2)

24. Raleigh, N.C. (-7)

25. Norfolk, VA (-1)

26. Richmond, VA

27. Omaha (+3)

28. Buffalo, N.Y. (+1)

29. Knoxville (+7)

30. Cedar Rapids, IA (+5)

31. Toledo, OH (-4)

32. Dayton, OH (-4)

33. South Bend, IN (+8)

34. Nashville (-3)

35. Davenport, IA (+3)

36. Wayne, IN (-3)

37. Youngstown (+3)

38. Milwaukee (-6)

39. Miami (+8)

40. Tampa (-1)

41. Houston (-4)

42. Harrisburg (new to list)

43. Greensboro, N.C. (-9)

44. Seattle

45. Peoria, IL (+4)

46. Orlando (-1)

47. Lexington, KY (-4)

48. Lansing, MI

49. Louisville, KY (-3)

50. Lincoln, NE (new to list)

Typically, bed bugs are 3/16 inch long, red to dark brown in color and are mostly nocturnal insects that come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping humans. These pests are hematophagous, which means blood is their only food source. They can travel from place to place with ease, clinging to items such as luggage, purses and other personal belongings.

“Bed bugs are a concern for everyone because they are master hitchhikers, traveling home with people when they likely don’t realize it,” says Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist. “Their nature of hiding in difficult-to-find cracks and crevices can make them hard to control, which is why involving a trained professional at the sight of an introduction is recommended.”

Bed bugs are known for rapid population growth. Females can deposit one to five eggs a day and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in their lifetime. They can survive for several months while waiting for their next blood meal, so they’re likely to emerge when a food source, e.g., humans, become available.

"Unfortunately, many hospitality businesses are facing staffing shortages, and while the industry remains committed to cleanliness, now more than ever, travelers should be mindful of bed bug sightings and proactive in inspection efforts.” says Hottel.

For tips on bed bug inspection and prevention, click here