Bed bugs, tiny blood-sucking insects that infest places where people sleep, pose a persistent challenge to eradication and can lead to itching, allergies, and emotional distress.
A recent report from Orkin, a pest control company, highlights California as home to some of the most bed bug-infested cities in the United States. The ranking of 50 cities is based on the number of bed bug treatments carried out by Orkin between December 2019 and November 2020.
Los Angeles: Leading the Bed Bug Menace
Securing the undesirable top spot, Los Angeles outpaced other cities as the worst for bed bugs, a leap from its second-place ranking in 2019. Factors like high population density, a warm climate, and a thriving tourism industry create conducive environments for bed bug infestations.
In 2020, Orkin conducted 1,330 bed bug treatments in Los Angeles, marking an 8% increase from the previous year. The city also faced the highest number of bed bug-related lawsuits, with plaintiffs seeking compensation for medical bills, property damage, and emotional distress.
San Francisco and San Diego: Making the Top 10
Two other Californian cities found their place in the top 10 bed bug-infested cities in the US: San Francisco and San Diego. San Francisco moved up from eighth place in 2019 to sixth, with 879 bed bug treatments in 2020, a 12% increase. Meanwhile, San Diego climbed from 11th to ninth place with 734 treatments, a 9% rise. These cities share similar bed bug-friendly conditions, including high population density, warm climate, and tourism.
Preventing and Managing Bed Bugs
Orkin advises people to be vigilant and proactive in preventing and managing bed bug infestations. Recommendations include:
- Inspecting luggage, clothing, and belongings for bed bug signs after travel or hotel stays.
- Washing and drying clothes and bedding on high heat after travel or suspicion of infestation.
- Regularly vacuuming carpets, furniture, and mattresses, disposing of the vacuum contents in a sealed plastic bag.
- Sealing cracks or crevices in walls, floors, or furniture to eliminate potential hiding spots.
- Using mattress and box spring encasements designed to prevent bed bug entry or escape.
- Seeking professional pest control assistance if bed bugs are suspected, avoiding over-the-counter pesticides or home remedies due to potential ineffectiveness or harm.
Bed bugs pose a significant and escalating problem in California and the US. By adhering to these guidelines, individuals can safeguard themselves and their families from these persistent pests.