- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2018

Lock your doors. Keep away from the walls. Examine your furniture. Bedbugs are ever present, and Orkin has released its new year survey for the cities with the worst infestation throughout the country.

For the second year in a row, Baltimore is the worst city for bedbugs, with the pest control company performing the most treatments to kill the blood-sucking insects.

Washington, D.C., is the second worst city for infestation followed by Chicago and then Los Angeles, which is up two spots from the previous year.

“The number of bed bug infestations in the United States is still rising,” Tim Husen, an Orkin entomologist, said in a company statement. “They continue to invade our homes and businesses on a regular basis because they are not seasonal pests, and only need blood to survive.”

New York rose four spots to eighth place on the list, while Dallas-Fort Worth joined the top 10. While San Diego and Albany both were off the list in 2017, they are back on at 41 and 50, respectively. Orlando has fallen off the list while, for the first time, New Orleans and Flint, Michigan are counted among the worst infested places.

“Any type of home is prone to bud begs. It has nothing to do with sanitation. We have treated for bed bugs everywhere, from newly built upscale homes to public housing,” Mr. Husen said.

While apartments and hotels are the most common places to find the reddish-brown insects — which are about the size of an apple seed — bedbugs are always in motion and can be carried from place to place on bags and luggage. They can be found in hospitals, day care centers, schools, offices and public transportation.

Prevention is nearly impossible, Orkin said in the statement, but early detection can help minimize an outbreak.

Bedbugs are difficult to see, but the company recommends keeping an eye out for small, black, ink-like stains the bugs leave behind. Check places where bedbugs hide, including mattress tags and seams, behind baseboards, headboards electrical outlets and picture frames.

Decreasing clutter gives less places for bedbugs to hide and also makes it easier to spot the insects.

Also, inspect all secondhand furniture before bringing it home and dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature to kill the bugs.

When traveling, Orkin advises to remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P.:

• 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 bedbug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even 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.

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