by Lisa A. Grimaldi | January 15, 2019

For the third year in a row, Baltimore tops pest-control outfit Orkin's list of the top 50 cities for bed bugs in the United States. Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Los Angeles; and Columbus, Ohio, joined the Maryland capital in the top-five on the list. "Bed bugs are the number-one urban pest in many cities today," said Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist. "They are master hitchhikers, so no one is immune. Sanitation has nothing to do with prevention: From public transit to five-star resorts, bed bugs have been and can be found everywhere humans are." 

Following is the full list, which is based on data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed-bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2017, through Nov. 30, 2018. The rankings include both residential and commercial treatments. (Click on the chart to see it larger.)

To limit risk of travelers' exposure to bed bugs, Orkin recommends the following:

• Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Be on the lookout for tiny, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in soft furniture and behind headboards.

• Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots (mattress, box spring and other furniture, behind baseboards, pictures and torn wallpaper).

• Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.

• Examine your luggage carefully while repacking and once you return home from a trip. 

• Always store luggage away from the bed.

• Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.