They're creepy and crawly and may be living in your bed. This year, Atlanta ranks 15th on a list of cities with the most of them.
On Thursday, Orkin released the 2013 Bed Bug Cities List.
At the top of the list was Chicago. The Windy City's bed bug problem was serious enough that the City Council passed an ordinance in July 2013 requiring condo associations to have a formal management plan in place for the detection, inspection and treatment of the pests.
Evidenced by the more than 20 percent increase in Rollins' bed bug business compared to the year before, bed bugs continue to be a serious problem. Rollins is the parent company of Orkin.
"While studies show that bed bugs do not spread disease, the physical and mental health consequences are well documented and of serious public concern," said Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. "Once bed bugs are inside your home or business, they can reproduce quickly and can travel from place to place in personal belongings and even on people. They can also move from place to place on their own, independently of objects."
The list released by Orkin ranks the cities by the number of bed bug treatments Orkin performed from January to December 2013, along with any shift in ranking compared to January to December 2012. Here's the top 20:
Los Angeles (+1)
Columbus, OH (+3)
Washington DC (-1)
Richmond/Petersburg, VA (+1)
Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, NC (+3)
Dallas/Ft. Worth (-4)
Syracuse, NY (+7)
New York (-7)
San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (-5)
Harrison offers the following tips to homeowners for bed bug prevention:
Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly.
Decrease clutter around your home – this will make bed bug inspections and detection much easier.
Dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature allowed for fabric.
Before bringing secondhand furniture into your home, closely inspect it for any signs of bed bugs and quarantine it for a period of time before bringing it into your rooms. Also, keep in mind that there is always a potential for bed bug activity, even if you don't find any signs.
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