WASHINGTON — The District has moved farther up a list residents probably don’t want to be on.
The pest control company Orkin has released its annual list of cities where they made the most bedbug treatments from Dec. 1, 2015, through Nov. 30, 2016, and D.C. has moved up a spot to number 2.
Baltimore leapt nine spots to number one, supplanting Chicago. In last year’s list, the Charm City shot up from number 31 to number 10.
“Anyone can get bedbugs in their home,”said Ron Harrison, Orkin’s entomologist and director of technical services. “They are not a sign of uncleanliness. Bedbugs only need blood to survive. We have treated for bedbugs in everything from million dollar homes to public housing.”
He adds that the bugs were “were virtually unheard of in the U.S. 10 years ago.”
Bedbugs are about the size of an apple seed when fully grown and can survive up to a year without feeding, Harrison said in the statement, so they’re hard to detect and hard to get rid of. And while their bites can give many people terrible itching and rashes, many have no reaction to their bites, which makes them even harder to detect.
Harrison said you need to check for bedbugs regularly — he does it once a week, when he changes his sheets — as well as checking picture frames and around electrical outlets. You should also dry any sheets, curtains and stuffed animals you think may be infested on the highest heat the fabric allows.
You need to keep an eye out for bedbugs when you’re traveling too. Orkin says to remember the acronym SLEEP:
- Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for black or brown spots on any furniture.
- Lift and look in bedbug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, bedskirt and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
- Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest place is in the bathroom.
- Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.
- Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.