DC’s Bedbug Problem Is On the Rise

Bedbug rankings released by Terminix show the local bedbug population has grown consistently since 2010.

The bedbug population is on the rise in DC, according to rankings released Terminix. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user Medill DC

Not to freak you all out, but the largest pest-control company in the world says DC’s bedbug population is steadily growing. Gross.

According to its most recent rankings of bedbug-infested cities, Terminix says DC is the sixth-most infested, while Philadelphia took the crown, surpassing New York City for the first time. Cincinnati also beat out New York City, which was followed by Chicago and Detroit. DC moved up three spots from 2010 and one spot from 2011.

However, we can at least be glad we don’t live in Ohio—the state was described as a “hotbed of activity” in the US, as three of its cities (Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland) made the top 15 list.

For the rankings, Terminix compiled data from its 300 branches around the country and evaluated service calls from customers and bedbug cases confirmed by exterminators. The top 15 most bedbug-infested US cities are as follows:

1. Philadelphia
2. Cincinnati
3. New York City
4. Chicago
5. Detroit
6. Washington, DC
7. Columbus, Ohio
8. San Francisco
9. Denver
10. New Haven, Connecticut
11. Dallas
12. Houston
13. Indianapolis
14. Miami
15. Cleveland

The news makes us want to cringe, especially with travel season well on its way. Bedbugs are small wingless insects that feed on human blood. They tend to nestle in beds, sofas, and other furnishings, and in close-quartered spaces such as dorms, hotels, and cruise ships. Bedbug bites can be treated using topical creams to relieve itching or antihistamines and go away within one to two weeks.

Terminix offered some tips on slowing the spread of the nasty critters while traveling:

1) Hang all clothing instead of storing them in hotel furniture drawers.

2) Store suitcases as far away from the bed as possible. Vacuum them as soon as you return home.

3) Seal luggage in a plastic bag when not traveling and store away from bedrooms.

4) Wash clothes in hot water.

But remember, once your bedroom or hotel becomes infested, only a professional pest-control specialist can take care of it.