These Are the Most Bed Bug–Infested Cities in the U.S.

Northeastern cities dominate the list.

Bed bugs are enough to fuel nightmares. They are small parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals as they sleep. Typically, when we think about a pest like bed bugs, many of our minds might go to two of the biggest cities in the US, like Los Angles and New York. To pin down which cities experienced the most bed bug treatments in 2021, Orkin has compiled a list of the country's top 50 most bed bug-infested cities in the US.

Chicago tops the list for the second year in a row, with Philadelphia and New York taking the second and third spots. New York ranking in the top three is not a significant shock. However, Philadelphia, the sixth most populated city in the US, ranking so high on the list while more populated cities like Los Angeles and Houston ranked lower is surprising.

New York moved up nine spots compared to last years’ list, while Los Angles moved down three. See the complete list below with notes on ranking changes since the previous year. 

Top Bed Bugs Cities in the US:

1. Chicago
2. Philadelphia (+12)
3. New York (+9)
4. Detroit
5. Baltimore (-3)
6. Indianapolis (+1)
7. Washington, DC (-4)
8. Cleveland, OH (-2)
9. Columbus, OH (-4)
10. Cincinnati (-2)
11. Grand Rapids, MI (-1)
12. Los Angeles (-3)
13. Champaign, IL (+2)
14. Atlanta (-1)
15. Charlotte, NC (-4)
16. Dallas-Ft. Worth
17. Denver (+3)
18. St. Louis, MO (+7)
19. San Francisco (+3)
20. Pittsburg (-1)
21. Greenville, SC (+2)
22. Charleston, W.V. (-4)
23. Flint, MI (-2)
24. Raleigh, NC (-7)
25. Norfolk, VA (-1)
26. Richmond, VA
27. Omaha (+3)
28. Buffalo, NY (+1)
29. Knoxville (+7)
30. Cedar Rapids, IA (+5)
31. Toledo, OH (-4)
32. Dayton, OH (-4)
33. South Bend, IN (+8)
34. Nashville (-3)
35. Davenport, IA (+3)
36. Ft. Wayne, IN (-3)
37. Youngstown (+3)
38. Milwaukee (-6)
39. Miami (+8)
40. Tampa (-1)
41. Houston (-4)
42. Harrisburg (new to list)
43. Greensboro, NC (-9)
44. Seattle
45. Peoria, IL (+4)
46. Orlando (-1)
47. Lexington, KY (-4)
48. Lansing, MI
49. Louisville, KY (-3)
50. Lincoln, NE (new to list)

We don't mean to totally scare you, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Bed bugs can be found in apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist says that "Bed bugs are a concern for everyone because they are master hitchhikers, traveling home with people when they likely don't realize it." Hottel also adds that the critters hide in hard-to-find cracks and crevices and are known for rapid population grown.

Basically the moral of the story is this folks: If you ever spot signs of bed bugs act immediately.

Orkin has an acronym, SLEEP, to help travelers remember how to spot bedbugs, so they won't pick up any unwanted hitchhikers on the road:

  • Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Be on the lookout for tiny, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in soft furniture and behind headboards.
  • Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.
  • Examine your luggage carefully while repacking and once you return home from a trip. Always store luggage away from the bed.
  • Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

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Janae Price is a News Staff Writer at Thrillist. She's a native New Yorker and loves all things cheese, K-pop, and culture. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @janae_larie.