June 3, 2019 – Nate Homan
We’re number one!
…On a rather nasty list.
Philly scooped up the number one spot on the Terminix annual ranking of “Top 50 Bed Bug-Infested Cities” in the country ahead of summer vacation season and Bed Bug Awareness Week.
Where did the City of Brotherly Love rank last year? Second. Is this the first time Philly has been crowned most bed bug infested city? Nope. These insufferable little pests were snug as a bug in a rug in Philly in 2014 too.
“Bed bugs continue to pose concerns for public health, as their presence is felt across the country, in cities large and small,” Terminix Residential President Matthew Stevenson told BuisnessWire.
Rankings are determined through a compilation of bed bug-specific data of service calls reported at more than 300 Terminix branches across the country. The rankings represent Metropolitan Statistical Areas with the highest number of actual services between April 16, 2018 and April 15, 2019.
Thanks to increased travel, bed bug infestations have gone up since the 1990s.
Terminix research revealed that 22 percent of Americans polled have had a bed bug encounter, and that the odds of encountering them are much higher for those with children.
Despite the high incidence rates and increased awareness of bed bugs, this research shows nearly half of the country who travel do not know what precautions to take to guard against them.
Appearently, Philly is a hotbed for such individuals.
There are some pretty standard signs and symptoms of a bed bugs infestation.
Terminix experts warn that bed bugs can be found in more than just bedding and mattresses. They can easily hitchhike from place to place via personal belongings, such as jackets, purses and luggage, or hide in upholstered furniture and behind baseboards.
Infestations are notoriously difficult to treat. They can mature in about 35 days, and can survive seven months until a year.
Bed bugs are largely active at night, so infestations can be difficult to spot. Look for signs of the insects like shedded skins and blood spots on mattresses or sheets.
Terminix reccommends washing all clothing and other belongings, as recommended on the label, suspected of being exposed to bed bugs at high temperatures to help kill off the pests, and keeping potentially compromised luggage in a plastic bag to prevent the insects from spreading to other belongings.
Another telltale sign of bed bugs is their smell. The scent of their pheromones can be quite strong. It’s often described as a musty odor.
Oh yeah, another indicator that you might have an infestation: Burning raised itchy bumps with a clear center, or a dark center and lighter swollen surrounding area scattered in zigzag patterns or in a line. The bite itself is pretty much painless. On average, they suck blood for a solid 10 minutes while their victim sleeps.
Here are some tips to mitigate the risk of being bitten or transporting bed bugs:
Check hotel headboards, mattresses and box springs for live bed bugs, their exoskeletons and or dark blood spots.
While full-grown, bed bugs are about the size, shape and color of an apple seed. Travelers should also look for newly hatched nymphs, which are cream-colored and the size of letters on a penny, as well as small translucent eggs, which may be found in the tucks and folds of sheets.
Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture.
Avoid storing clothing in a hotel’s furniture drawers.
Store suitcases on a luggage rack as far away from the bed as possible.
Vacuum suitcases when returning home, and immediately wash clothing in hot water.
Between trips, store luggage in a sealed plastic bag in a garage or basement away from bedrooms.