Bedbugs are shutting down office buildings and clothing stores and invading homes, and while no one is safe from these pests, a new report compiled from Terminix data shows 15 cities stand above the rest as the most bedbug-infested cities in the United States.

The list is topped by New York and includes other major cities such as Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Chicago. Surprisingly, Ohio receives the dubious distinction as the most bedbug-infested state, with three cities in the top 10 and four in the top 15.

The 2010 most bedbug-infested cities include:

  1. New York
  2. Philadelphia
  3. Detroit
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Chicago
  6. Denver
  7. Columbus, Ohio
  8. Dayton, Ohio
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. Los Angeles
  11. Boston
  12. Indianapolis
  13. Louisville, Ky.
  14. Cleveland
  15. Minneapolis, Minn.

Bedbugs were almost eradicated from the United States following World War II, but increasing international travel and other factors have allowed these pests to regain a foothold in the United States.

”It’s no surprise that highly trafficked cities such as New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles are on the list,” said Paul Curtis, entomologist for Terminix. “It’s the bedbug problems in cities like Dayton and Louisville that prove bedbugs are back and can pop up anywhere. The bedbug problems in these cities outpace markets of far greater size despite their having a fraction of the population and typically fewer travelers and hotels.”

The top 15 list was developed by Terminix and was created by compiling and analyzing market-specific call volume about bedbugs to the 350 Terminix service centers throughout the country.

Because of the bedbugs’ tendency to hitch rides from one location to the next, high-traffic areas such as hotels, motels, airplanes and cruise ships are especially susceptible to infestations. Travelers should use the following tips to protect themselves from bedbugs:

  • Check headboards, mattresses and box springs for bedbugs and the dark blood spots they leave behind.
  • Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture.
  • Avoid unpacking clothing and storing your clothing in the hotel’s furniture drawers.
  • Store baggage on a luggage rack as far from the bed as possible.
  • Vacuum suitcases when returning, and immediately wash clothing in hot water.

Consumers do not have to travel in order to bring a bedbug infestation into the home. According to Terminix data, reports of bedbug infestations in office buildings and retail shops are on the rise, and homeowners should use the following tips to protect themselves:

  • Inspect furniture, antiques, used appliances or consignment items for signs of bedbugs before bringing them into the home.
  • Never pick up used mattresses or furniture left curbside.
  • Inspect clothing for bedbugs and wash (in hot water) new items in hot water after bringing them into the house.
  • Use zippered encasements on infested mattresses and box springs.
  • If you suspect you have bedbugs, have your home inspected by a trained professional. Bedbugs cannot be controlled by over-the-counter treatments.

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