Cleveland, Akron ranked among worst cities for bed bugs in US

Orkin says their list is based on data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments.

When it comes to bed bugs, Northeast Ohio is among the worst locations in the country. That’s according to the “Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List” from Orkin, which was released in a new report Monday morning.

Cleveland-Akron has landed at No. 4, moving up four spots from last year. Two other Ohio cities — Columbus and Dayton — also made the top 50 list.

Officials say the nationwide rankings are based on data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments (both residential and commercial) from Dec. 1, 2021, through Nov. 30, 2022.

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So who else made the list? Here are the top 50 as outlined by Orkin:

  1. Chicago
  2. New York (+1)
  3. Philly (-1)
  4. Cleveland-Akron, OH (+4)
  5. Los Angeles (+7)
  6. Detroit (-2)
  7. Indianapolis (-1)
  8. Baltimore (-3)
  9. Washington, D.C. (-2)
  10. Columbus, Ohio (-1)
  11. Champaign, IL (+2)
  12. Grand Rapids, MI (-1)
  13. Cincinnati (-3)
  14. Charlotte (+1)
  15. Denver (+2)
  16. Atlanta (-2)
  17. Dallas-Ft. Worth (-1)
  18. Pittsburgh (+2)
  19. Charleston, WV (+3)
  20. Raleigh Durham (+4)
  21. Flint, MI (+2)
  22. San Francisco (-3)
  23. Norfolk, VA (+2)
  24. Greenville, SC (-3)
  25. St Louis (-7)
  26. Richmond, Va
  27. Youngstown (+10)
  28. South Bend, IN (+5)
  29. Buffalo, NY (-1)
  30. Knoxville (-1)
  31. Cedar Rapids, MI (-1)
  32. Omaha, NE (-5)
  33. Nashville (+1)
  34. Dayton, OH (-2)
  35. feet Wayne, IN (+1)
  36. Harrisburg (+6)
  37. Davenport (-2)
  38. Toledo (-7)
  39. Seattle (+5)
  40. Milwaukee (-2)
  41. Tampa (-1)
  42. Lansing, MI (+6)
  43. Greensboro, NC
  44. Houston (-3)
  45. Miami (-6)
  46. Lexington, KY (+1)
  47. Orlando (-1)
  48. Peoria (-3)
  49. Louisville, KY (-3)
  50. Lincoln, N.E

Editor’s note: Video in the player above was originally published in an unrelated story on Nov. 16, 2023.

“Bed bugs are extremely resilient, making them difficult to control. As people begin to ramp up their travel plans this year, it’s important they know how to protect themselves through pest identification and proper control,” says Ben Hottel, Orkin entomologist. “Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, but are excellent at hiding. Involving a trained professional at the sight of a bed bug introduction is recommended.”

Orkin says bed bugs are known for rapid population growth. They’re described as 3/16 inches long with red to dark brown coloring “that come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping humans.”

“These pests are hematophagous, which means blood is their only food source,” according to Orkin’s press release. “They can travel from place to place with ease, clinging to items such as luggage, purses and other personal belongings.”

Officials warn that bed bug infestations are not only connected with places like homes, apartments and hotels.

“Taxis, buses and airplanes are also common bed bug hiding places, allowing these pests an opportunity to hitch a ride with unsuspecting travelers,” Hottel says. “Examining clothing and luggage regularly while traveling can help to catch a bed bug infestation in the early stages.”


Here are some proactive tips as outlined by Orkin:

  • Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check the places where bed bugs hide during the day, including mattress tags and seams, and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets and picture frames. Inspect when you move in, after a trip, when a service worker visits or after guests stay overnight.
  • Decrease clutter around your home to make it easier to spot bed bugs on your own or during professional inspections.
  • Examine all second-hand furniture before bringing it inside your home.

During travel, remember the acronym SLEEP to inspect for bed bugs:

  • 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: 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 30-45 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

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