Houston ranks in Top 20 for bedbug infestations

By Andy Warren

Once again, Houston ranks in the Top 20 for bedbug infestations, according to Orkin pest control.

It could be worse: Baltimore took the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row and Dallas-Fort Worth rose to the Top 10 infested metro areas in 2018 for the first time.

Orkin says the annual list is based on treatment data – both residential and commercial – from metro areas between Dec. 1, 2016, and Nov. 30, 2017. Houston ranked 17th this year.

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

According to a 2015 “Bugs without Borders Survey” by the National Pest Management Association, the pests are most commonly found in apartments or condominiums; single-family homes; and in hotels/motels.

The bedbug population can rapidly grow, with females laying two to five eggs a days, or up to 500 total in her life span, Orkin says.

Pest World notes that the six-legged beasts are mahogany in color as adults, reddish-brown when they’ve been feeding, while nymphs are nearly colorless.

Because adults are one-quarter of an inch long, or smaller, they’re difficult to detect. The surest sign are deposits of brown “dirt” on sheets, carpet and other areas. With an infestation, the signs will be obvious.

Prevention tips include:

  • Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation.
  • Check your bed sheets for tell-tale blood spots.
  • Keep your suitcase in a large plastic trash bag during hotel stays.
  • A small flashlight can help with visual inspections.
  • Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without thoroughly examining for signs of a bed bug infestation.
  • Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bedbugs.

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