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Worst US States For Bed Bug Outbreaks 2023

Do you ever check the hotel bed for signs of bed bugs before you settle in for the night? For some, this is part of their hotel routine.

But for others, this might be the last thing on your mind when considering a vacation or business trip. Unfortunately, there are some parts of America where checking for bed bugs should not be taken lightly.

I’m going to share the worst US states for bed bug outbreaks, so that travelers can be better informed before visiting an area. Read on to learn all about the worst US states for bed bug outbreaks.

Bed bugs all over a black background

Why Is There A Rise In Bed Bug Infestations Across The USA In 2023?

In 2023, bed bugs continue to be a prevalent problem in many areas, with cities like Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia leading the top three spots on Orkin’s “Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List” for the third consecutive year.

There are a few reasons contributing to this rise in bed bug outbreaks:

  • Increased travel: Frequent travel within the United States, as well as to and from other countries, has contributed to the spread of bed bugs. These sneaky pests hitchhike on luggage, clothing, and personal belongings, making it easy for them to infest new locations.
  • Lack of knowledge: People may not know much about bed bug prevention, leading to unintentional actions that help these pests proliferate. For example, people might not recognize the signs of an infestation, which can result in them unknowingly spreading the problem to other areas.
  • Poor extermination practices: Ineffective pest control methods can sometimes exacerbate the problem. If extermination efforts are only partially successful, the remaining bed bug population can quickly reproduce and reinfest the space.
  • Pesticide resistance: Over time, bed bugs have developed resistance to some commonly used pesticides, making it harder to control their populations. This could lead to a rapid increase in infested areas if proper pest control measures aren’t taken.

Comparison: Bed Bug Prevalence in 2023 vs Previous Years

In 2023, the bed bug situation has remained concerning, with New York and California consistently topping the list as the worst states for bed bug outbreaks.

This trend has persisted for years. Some other states that have crept up in the ranks include Florida, Ohio, New Jersey, and Maryland.

It’s important to note that two cities in Michigan, Detroit and Grand Rapids, have seen a rise in bed bug infestations.

Detroit dropped two places from the previous year, now ranking as the sixth-worst city in the country for bed bugs.

Grand Rapids is down one place, positioned at the 12th spot with a significant number of bed bug issues reported.

When looking at the bed bug reports by state, Ohio has had 810 reports, with 6 cities on Orkin’s top 50 list, including Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati ranking 8th, 9th, and 10th, respectively. 

New York has accumulated more than 4,000 bed bug reports, placing NYC as third on Orkin’s top 50 list. Pennsylvania has experienced 1,134 bed bug reports, with Philadelphia coming in second on Orkin’s list.

Close up image of lots of bed bug insects on a white background

Impact of Bed Bug Infestations on Public Health

Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on human blood. While they are not known to transmit diseases, their presence in public places and homes can still negatively impact public health.

These tiny critters can cause physical discomfort, mental distress, and sometimes even dangerous allergic reactions.

As you might know, bed bugs are attracted to the warmth of our bodies and the carbon dioxide we exhale.

They can easily hitch a ride on you or your belongings, making public places, like hotels, public transport, and movie theaters, potential sources of infestation.

When they bite, bed bugs inject an anti-coagulant that helps them access your blood more easily.

This can cause raised, itchy welts on your skin. In some cases, the itchiness can be severe, leading to excessive scratching that may cause skin infections.

Aside from the physical discomfort, bed bugs may also affect your mental health. Knowing that bed bugs may be lurking in your home can lead to sleepless nights and anxiety.

Being bitten by bed bugs at night can also disrupt your sleep, which might affect your ability to function well during the day.

Here’s a table summarizing the impacts of bed bug infestations on your health:

Aspect Impact on Public Health
Physical discomfort Itchiness, skin irritation, and potential infections
Mental health Anxiety, insomnia, and daytime sleepiness
Allergic reactions Rare instances of severe symptoms like anaphylaxis

US Government Measures to Combat the Bed Bug Crisis

The Federal Bed Bug Workgroup, comprising of representatives from different agencies, has developed a Collaborative Strategy on Bed Bugs.

This strategy emphasizes cooperation among government, community, academia, and private industry to reduce bed bug infestations across the United States.

The idea is to provide a guidance framework for all stakeholders to ensure a unified and effective response.

As part of the collaborative efforts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have jointly released a document that addresses public health issues related to bed bugs.

The document offers tips and advice to protect yourself and your community from infestations, emphasizing the importance of regular inspections to identify early signs of an infestation.

In addition to the collaborative strategy, the US EPA has been regulating the use of pesticides for bed bug control.

The agency maintains a list of registered products for the public, enabling you to make informed choices when selecting pest control measures for your home or business.

Then, the EPA constantly updates its regulations and guidelines based on emerging research and development in pest control methods.

Bed bug crawling over a mattress protector

How To Keep A Lookout For Bedbugs In Your Home

First, inspect your furniture regularly, especially your mattress and bed frame. Bedbugs love to hide in small crevices, so make sure to check seams, folds, and edges for any signs of bedbugs or their eggs.

If you spot any black or brown fecal spots, tiny eggs, or shed skins, it could be a telltale sign of a bedbug problem.

Prevent clutter around your home, as a cluttered space can provide more hiding spots for bedbugs.

Keep your belongings organized and stored in sealed plastic containers, instead of cardboard boxes or open storage systems.

A tidy home not only makes it difficult for bedbugs to find shelter but also makes it easier for you to spot any signs of an infestation.

Be mindful of your clothing and luggage when traveling or visiting someone else’s home. Bedbugs can hitch a ride on your belongings and find their way into your home.

Inspect your belongings carefully before bringing them into your living space, and consider washing your clothes in hot water once you return from a trip.

There are various products on the market designed to help keep bedbugs at bay.

Some people opt for mattress encasements, which are designed to completely cover the mattress and box springs, trapping any existing bedbugs inside and preventing new ones from infesting your bed.

Insecticides or commercially available bedbug sprays can be used cautiously, ensuring you follow the instructions for safe application.

Finally, regularly check any common hiding sites around your bedroom, such as the backside of headboards, dressers, and nightstands.

Bedbugs can also hide in curtains, electrical outlets, and floor cracks. 

Bed bug eggs and bed bugs on a mattress

Worst US States For Bed Bug Outbreaks 2023

Bed bugs can easily hitch a ride with unsuspecting travelers, rapidly infesting homes, hotels, and other locations. In 2023, some states have seen more of these unwelcome guests than others.

Here’s a look at the worst states for bed bug outbreaks in 2023:

New York and California consistently top the list as the most affected states, with major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco being particularly impacted. Florida, Ohio, New Jersey, and Maryland have also crawled up the ranks, increasing their bed bug problems.

While Philadelphia holds the number one spot for cities with the most bed bugs, other areas such as Chicago, Washington D.C., and Baltimore aren’t far behind. Midwestern cities including Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Detroit are also facing their fair share of bed bug issues.

The Southern states aren’t exempt from bed bug problems either. Cities like Atlanta, Georgia; Miami, Florida; and Raleigh, North Carolina are also dealing with an uptick in bed bug infestations.

Here’s a brief table highlighting the frequency of bed bug outbreaks in some of the states mentioned:

State Bed Bug Frequency
New York High
California High
Florida Moderate
Ohio Moderate
New Jersey Moderate
Maryland Moderate
Georgia Low
North Carolina Low

Bed bugs can be found in any state, including those not listed here. It’s essential to remain vigilant when traveling, inspecting hotel beds, and always taking precautions to avoid bringing these pesky pests back to your home.

Woman examining bedding looking for bed bug infestation

Worst Cities For Bed Bug Infestations In The USA

Philadelphia has the worst bedbug problem in 2023, followed by Chicago and New York City. These are considered the top three cities with the worst bed bug infestations, and it’s important to be vigilant when traveling to or living in these locations.

Another city that consistently ranks high in bed bug infestations is Columbus, Ohio. This city, along with Cincinnati, Ohio, has been struggling to control these pesky critters, and they both feature frequently in the lists of worst cities for bed bugs.

As well as these cities, you should also be cautious when traveling to or residing in Denver, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Tampa, Atlanta, Dayton, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, and Charlotte.

To help you remember this information, here’s a list of the cities to keep an eye on:

  • Philadelphia
  • Chicago
  • New York City
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Denver
  • Cleveland
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Detroit
  • Tampa
  • Atlanta
  • Dayton
  • Pittsburgh
  • Nashville
  • Houston
  • Dallas
  • San Diego
  • Charlotte

Remember, being cautious and taking preventative measures can save you from dealing with a bed bug infestation in your home or while traveling. It’s always better to be prepared.

Life cycle of a bed bug insect from egg to adult bed bug

Summary

Some states are worse off than others in terms of bedbug infestations, with New York and California topping the list as the worst states for bed bug outbreaks.

The federal government has developed strategies to help combat this issue. This includes developing guidelines for prevention and providing regulations on the use of pesticides to control bedbug populations.

At home, it’s important to be proactive about preventing infestations by regularly inspecting your furniture and belongings, avoiding clutter, being mindful when traveling, using products designed to keep bedbugs at bay, and checking common hiding spots around your bedroom.

Also, keep an eye out for cities that have been particularly affected by these unwelcome guests: Philadelphia, Chicago, New York City, Columbus (Ohio), Denver, Cleveland, Los Angeles etc… Taking preventative steps when visiting these locations can save you from potential issues down the line.