Orkin announced its top 50 bed bug cities for 2011. Last year, Orkin's parent company, Rollins, saw a 33.6-percent increase in bed bug business compared to 2010.
The following top ten cities are ranked in order of the number of bed bug treatments Orkin performed from January to December 2011 along with their shift, if any, in ranking compared to January to December 2010.
3. Detroit (+1)
4. Denver (+2)
5. Los Angeles (+20)
6. Columbus, Ohio (-3)
7. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (+43)
8. Washington, D.C. (-3)
9. New York (-2)
10. Richmond/Petersburg, Va. (+6)
According to Dr. Ron Harrison, entomologist and technical services director at Orkin, the changes in city rankings shows that bed bugs have remained a persistent problem in the U.S. "Several of the top 50 cities have large, busy airports, and there could be a correlation between increased travel and bed bug activity," said Harrison. "The changes could also be because the bed bug population is increasing overall, or even because the public is becoming more aware of bed bugs and has become better adept at identifying them."
Harrison insisted that sanitation is not a factor, but encourages hotel guests to investigate for themselves whenever they enter a property's room, regardless of overall quality. "Bed bugs are nocturnal and resemble apple seeds in size and color, so check mattress seams, sheets and furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames for small reddish-brown spots and lightly-colored molted bed bug skins," Harrison said.
Read: A simple way to keep bed bugs at bay
Other tips include looking for rust-colored spots on bed sheets, mattress tags and seams and bed skirts; guests should also look underneath the mattress, bed frame and headboard. Other areas to investigate include the room's furniture, and guests should elevate their luggage away from the bed and wall to avoid picking up any bed bugs.
Read: Don't let the bed bugs bite: A list of 100 practical and useful things hoteliers should know about bed bugs