The Worst Cities for Bed Bugs Might Make You Rethink Where You Live

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 08: The Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) rises above the city's skyline on November 8, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The building which stands 1,451 feet tall, not including the antennas, is waiting to learn if it will retain its title as the nation's tallest building or if it will have to pass the title to New York's newly constructed One World Trade Center which measures 1,368 feet without its decorative spire which adds another 408 feet making it 1776 feet tall. A decision from The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, headquartered in Chicago, is expected soon. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Because obviously everyone wants to spend their Hump Day work break reading about something absolutely disgusting, here's one for the ages: Pest control company Orkin just released their annual ranking of the worst cities for bed bugs in the U.S., and now I am rethinking every life choice I have ever made. Just kidding — mostly I'm just experiencing psychosomatic itching. Or at least, I hope it's psychosomatic...

Anyway, every year, Orkin ranks all the cities they service by the number of bed bug treatments they performed from January through December; then they release that list into the wild, because of course you can't just sit on all that information without doing anything with it. Said Orkin Entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D., "Bed bugs are a serious issue across the country and they're very difficult to control. Bed bugs are not limited to any level of cleanliness or income, which means they can be found in any home or hotel. They're great hitchhikers, and people often bring them inside on their clothes or in their luggage."

Gee, thanks for making me never want to travel again. Or shop. Or leave my house. Maybe I should just put myself in a giant hamster ball. Good luck trying to get in there, bed bugs!

A bunch of cities jumped quite substantially this year (Omaha, Nebraska had it the worst — they went up 16 slots, landing at number 21 this year), and a few made it onto the list for the very first time (hi there, Myrtle Beach!); others, however, dropped pretty significantly, including Syracuse, San Diego, and Atlanta. My adoptive home city of New York didn't do as badly as I would have expected; in spite of the outbreak on the subway last year, it didn't crack the top 10. Then again, out of a ranking of 50 cities, I'm not sure landing at number 18 is something of which to be particularly proud... but oh well. It could be worse.

Now, it's probably worth remembering that the ranking was put together by Orkin; on the one hand, yes, they definitely know their bed bugs — but on the other, any list, ranking, or study released by a for-profit company is, at least in part, an advertisement. But hey, at least in this case, we know their data is probably sound; furthermore, it's a pretty good reminder about just where we should go, should we find ourselves beset upon by tiny, blood-sucking terrors. 

Anyhoo, here are the top 10 worst cities for bed bugs — illustrated with GIFs of adorable kittens and super cute puppies, because bed bugs are hideous. No one should have to look at 10 GIFs of horrifying bed bugs — ever. That would be the cruelest and most unusual punishment of them all. See the full listing of all 50 cities here, and don't forget to take whatever bed bug safeguards you have to in order to prevent them from entering your home. You do not want them invading. Worst. House guests. Ever.

1. Chicago, IL

Three years in a row at number one, Chicago? Ouch. You might want to do something about that.

2. Detroit, MI

Detroit, alas, went up two spots in the ranking this year; last year, they scored number four.

3. Columbus, OH

Well, Columbus may not have improved from last year... but at least they didn't worse either, right?

4. Los Angeles, CA

Hoorah! LA dropped two spots from last year! Good work, Southern Californians!

5. Cleveland - Akron - Canton, OH

This area of Ohio rose one slot from 2013. Ah well. At least it's not as bad as...

6. Dallas - Ft. Worth, TX

And taking the prize for biggest rise in the top 10 is Dallas - Ft. Worth, which jumped a whopping seven spots over the past year. Ouch.

7. Cincinnati, OH

Yet another Ohio city? What is this, the Anti-Ohio Bed Bug Brigade? At least the city dropped two slots from 2013.

8. Denver, CO

Like Clevelend, Denver jumped one solitary slot this year. Don't let the bed bugs near your weed, Coloradonians — that might cause them to turn into super bed bugs, and if that happens, we're all screwed.

9. Richmond - Petersburg, VA 

Virginia's capital is apparently quite the bed bug haven — and more so this year than it was last year. This area jumped two slots.

10. Dayton, OH

Man, bed bugs really like Ohio, don't they? Sorry, guys. You must have particularly delicious blood. At least Dayton is getting better, though; it dropped three spots in the ranking from last year.

Images: Giphy (11)

Must Reads