Sorry, you might want to put down your lunch before reading this story.
Terminix released its sixth annual ranking of bed bug-infested cities Tuesday, and Los Angeles was in fourth place.
And don’t think bed bugs are only in hotel beds. An official with the exterminator company said you can also pick up bed bugs on a plane, in a taxi or even in a movie theater.
For the first time in four years, Philadelphia was outranked by Detroit, which stole the top spot. However, LA is up there in the ranking, too, and placed fourth for bed infestations. In case you’ve already scrapped the bologna sandwich and want to know more:
Rounding out the top 15 metro areas for bed bugs United States are:
- Los Angeles
- Dallas-Forth Worth
- San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
- Oklahoma City
- New York
“We’ve seen a steady increase in bed bugs since the 1990s, which has been influenced by increased international travel and infestations left untreated,” said Paul Curtis, manager, technical services at Terminix. “Most of the cities in our top 15 are big tourist and business destinations, making travelers even more at risk for encounters with bed bugs — whether it’s on the plane, at their hotel, in a movie theater or riding in a taxi. The name ‘bed bug’ is deceptive, as these pests can thrive just about anywhere.”
The list of top cities for bed bugs was created by compiling inbound lead data from the more than 300 Terminix branches across the country. The rankings represent Metropolitan Statistical Areas with the highest volume of calls from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 17, 2015.
Myths and Truths About Bed Bugs
But it’s not just the name that’s misleading. There are plenty of myths about bloodsucking bed bugs that have people in the dark, including:
1. MYTH: Bed bugs only live in beds
TRUTH: Although they flourish in mattresses, box springs and bed frames, bed bugs can be found in a variety of environments, including airplanes, daycare centers, restaurants, subways, dressers and purses. Bed bugs’ small, flat bodies make them experts at hiding. The most obvious way to detect the presence of bed bugs is bite marks to the body, but those may take up to 14 days to appear, so look for other signs such as shells of bed bugs, live bed bugs in mattress seams, a sweet musty odor or small blood spots on mattresses and sheets.
2. MYTH: Bed bugs only feast in the dark
TRUTH: Bed bugs do prefer darkness, but keeping the lights on won’t deter the pests from biting. Bed bugs readily feed anytime a host is available, including during the day. Often, bed bug victims don’t even realize they’ve been bitten until marks appear. These marks are similar to that of a mosquito, with a slightly swollen, red area that may itch or be irritated.
3. MYTH: There’s a one-step solution to eliminating bed bugs
TRUTH: Bed bug control can only be maintained using a variety of techniques. Bed bug populations in different areas of the country have developed resistance to common pesticides, so, to truly tackle the problem, pest control pros have to take multiple approaches.
4. MYTH: A doctor can tell you if you have bed bugs
TRUTH: It can be difficult for a doctor to differentiate between bed bug, mosquito or other flying pest bites because everyone reacts differently. If you suspect you have bed bugs, Terminix recommends checking for other signs in your bed and throughout your home to confirm their presence.
5. MYTH: Bed bugs don’t warrant public health concerns
TRUTH: Though they’ve not been shown to transmit diseases to people, bed bugs are listed as a public health pest because their bites can cause an allergic reaction.
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