Pest company says DC now No. 1 for bedbugs

Bedbugs are dark brown in color and typically between 4 and 5 millimeters long. (Courtesy Orkin)

Last week, The New York Times bestowed a glitzy honor on D.C., naming it the top travel destination of the year, besting such stiff competition as the British Virgin Islands, Sicily and Salzburg, Austria.

Now comes a more dubious honor: Pest-control management company Orkin says the District is the bed-buggiest city in America.

D.C. moved up a notch in the annual list, overtaking Baltimore as the most bedbug-infested city. The Charm City had held the title for the past three years.

Orkin said the list is based on the number of new bedbug treatments the company performed between Dec. 1, 2018, to Nov. 30, 2019, including both residential and commercial treatments.

Rounding out the top five are Chicago, Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio.

Top 10 ‘bedbug cities’ list

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Baltimore
  3. Chicago
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. New York
  7. Detroit
  8. Cincinnati
  9. Indianapolis
  10. Atlanta

You can see the full list of bedbug cities on Orkin’s website.

“While bedbugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat to households,” said Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist, in a news release. “They are excellent hitchhikers, and they reproduce quickly which make it nearly impossible to prevent bedbugs.”

Bedbugs are dark brown in color and typically between 4 and 5 millimeters long. Normally nocturnal, they hide during the day in mattress seams, bed frames and other furniture and come out at night to bite sleeping people.

Orkin said the key to controlling the pests is to catch an infestation early. Look for small black spots on your mattress and bedding, which could be bedbug feces or what’s known as nymph bedbugs.

Orkin recommended inspecting your home regularly for bedbugs, including your mattress, headboard, baseboard and even electrical outlets and picture frames near your bed. You should cut back on clutter in your bedroom and wash your bed linens frequently, using the hottest possible temperature depending on the fabric.

Orkin also has tips for checking your hotel room for bedbugs, so you don’t return home with unwanted visitors:

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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