Dick Uliano, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Chests swell with pride when cities are placed atop various lists: Best City for Families; City with the Best Pizza; City with the Best Parks.
But the newest list of the top 50 cities might have mayors and city managers running for cover -- the Top 50 Cities for Bed Bugs.
Orkin, the pest control company, has ranked cities based on the number of bed bug treatments they conducted in 2011. Cincinnati is at the top of the list, followed by Chicago, Detroit and Denver.
D.C. is eighth on Orkin's list, but the good news for the nation's capital is that D.C. has dropped from fifth place in 2010.
"Bed bugs continue to be everywhere in the United States and appear to be moving further south than they originally were in high concentrations," said Ron Harrison, Orkin entomologist.
Reflecting the spread of bed bugs into southern climates, Los Angeles jumped from 25th place in 2010 to fifth place on Orkin's list for 2011. Dallas/Forth Worth has leaped from 50th place to seventh.
Richmond is 10th on the list, up six places. Baltimore is 18th, down six places. Salisbury is up 46 spots to No. 43.
Harrison finds the list interesting for the way it's expanded, "from the cities in the Northeast and the Midwest to the Southern cities," he said.
Miami wasn't on the list in 2010 and neither was West Palm Beach. Now Miami is in 24th place and West Palm is 50th.
Bolstering evidence that the bed bug problem is growing, the National Pest Management Association reports that 99 percent of pest professionals have encountered bed bug infestations in the past year, up from 95 percent in 2010.
The association recommends travelers check their rooms with a flashlight before unpacking and pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams and box spring. When you get home check your suitcases.
According to the "Journal of the American Medical Association," there is no evidence bed bugs can transmit diseases but their bites can leave itchy welts or red marks.
"It's just a psychological nightmare that these things are biting you," Harrison said.
"They certainly can make it very unpleasant to think that you're going to bed."
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