These Are the U.S. Cities With the Worst Bed Bug Infestations
Baltimore is known for its historic neighborhoods, monuments, crab cakes — and, increasingly, its bed bugs.
Since Orkin began reporting the top bed bug cities, complaints to a 311 municipal services number in Baltimore for bedbugs have gone down by more than 30 percent, said Tania Baker, director of communications for the city’s housing authority.
“In Baltimore, the Department of Housing and Community Development’s property maintenance inspectors are specially trained to inspect and identify bed bug infestations,” Baker said in an email. “If bed bugs are found, violation notices are issued to both the owner and occupant to take the necessary steps to eliminate the infestation.”
Bed bugs have been a nocturnal pest for at least four millennia. Although numbers were dramatically reduced after World War II, the parasites have made a comeback thanks to increased global travel, regulatory restrictions on insecticides like DDT, and tolerance to newer, organic bed bug treatments, according to researchers at the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
That’s stoking a national bed bug control industry that Specialty Consultants LLC, a research firm based in Jacksonville, Florida, said in April was worth $611.2 million in 2016. Gary Curl, the consultancy’s founder and president, predicted a year ago that if trends continue, industry revenue could hit $1 billion in five years.
“This is the biggest problem with bed bugs,” said Stephen Doggett, director of the department of medical entomology at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital. “It’s not so much that they transmit disease, it’s the fiscal impacts of bed bugs.”
Orkin, owned by Rollins Inc., partnered with market research firm the Bantam Group to survey 100 U.S. hotels in 2016 to gauge the cost of bed bugs to the hospitality industry.