Worst Bed Bug Cities: Baltimore Lands On Most Infested List


Orkin, a pest control company, recently ranked Baltimore as the city that’s the 16th-most infested with bed bugs. A stock photo of a bed bug is shown above. (Shutterstock)

Patch manager Deb Belt wrote this story.

BALTIMORE, MD — The Baltimore area is known for a lot of good attractions that make it a prime vacation spot: The home of the Baltimore Ravens, crab cakes, the waters of Chesapeake Bay, the haunts of Edgar Allan Poe.

One of the things tourism officials probably won’t tout is the state’s ranking on the Atlanta-based pest-control company Orkin’s 2024 Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List.

Charm City was among the U.S. cities where bed bugs are most prevalent, ranking No. 16. The hint of good news in that ranking is that the city placed at No. 8 a year ago, so Baltimore might be overcoming its pest problem.

Orkin based its list on residential and commercial bed bug treatments performed by its technicians from Dec. 1, 2022-Nov. 30, 2023.

Below are the top 10 cities ranked on Orkin’s list and if they moved up or down from a year ago:

  1. Chicago, Illinois
  2. New York, New York
  3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  4. Cleveland-Akron, Ohio
  5. Los Angeles, California
  6. Detroit, Michigan
  7. Washington, D.C. (+2)
  8. Indianapolis, Indiana (-1)
  9. Charlotte, North Carolina (+5)
  10. Champaign, Illinois (+1)

See the full list of Orkin’s top bed bug cities.

Bed bugs are usually about 3/16 inch long and red to dark brown. Mostly nocturnal insects whose only food source is blood, they come out of hiding to take their meals from sleeping humans. They can travel from place to place with ease, clinging to items such as luggage, purses and other personal belongings.

They also reproduce quickly. Females can deposit up to five eggs a day, and from 200 to 500 over their lifetime. They can survive for several months waiting for their next blood meal, so they’re most likely to emerge when people are near.

Orkin entomologist Ben Hottel said that while it’s important to be aware of bed bug infestations within hotels, the pests also try to hitch rides in taxis, buses and airplanes.

While traveling, it’s important to examine clothing and luggage regularly, among other steps.

  • Check the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Be on the lookout for tiny, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in soft furniture and behind headboards.
  • Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.
  • Examine your luggage carefully while repacking and once you return home from a trip. Always store luggage away from the bed.
  • Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 30-45 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.
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