US Epidemic: Bed Bugs

Each year the number of bed bugs in the US rises.  It is difficult to go a day without hearing about these dreaded bugs.  It is difficult to pinpoint a cause for the sudden recurrence, but some theories include:  increased international and cross country travel, the banning of certain pesticides, and resistance to pesticides.

What are the worst US locations for bed bugs?

According to a recent article by ABC News, the top 50 cities in the US for occurrences and treatments of bed bugs for 2012 are as follows:

1. Cincinnati
2. Chicago
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)
11. Houston (-1)
12. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Calif. (+35)
13. Cleveland/Akron/Canton, Ohio (+1)
14. Boston (+4)
15. Dayton, Ohio (-7)
16. Las Vegas (-1)
17. Honolulu (+55)
18. Baltimore (-6)
19. Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, N.C. (+9)
20. Philadelphia (-9)
21. Atlanta (+24)
22. Lexington, Ky. (-13)
23. Syracuse, N.Y. (+25)
24. Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (+27)
25. Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colo. (+19)
26. San Diego (+13)
27. Seattle/Tacoma, Wash. (-3)
28. Omaha, Neb. (-11)
29. Buffalo, N.Y. (-16)
30. Pittsburgh (-3)
31. Indianapolis (-12)
32. Milwaukee (+6)
33. Charlotte, N.C. (+13)
34. Phoenix (+19)
35. Louisville, Ky. (-3)
36. Hartford/New Haven, Conn. (-16)
37. Grand Junction/Montrose, Colo. (+30)
38. Knoxville, Tenn. (+4)
39. Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Mich. (-17)
40. Nashville, Tenn. (+15)
41. Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, Calif. (+24)
42. Des Moines/Ames, Iowa (-13)
43. Salisbury, Md. (+46)
44. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y. (-23)
45. Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa (-22)
46. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. (-20)
47. Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, Neb. (-17)
48. Salt Lake City (-8)
49. Charleston/Huntington, W.Va. (-13)
50. West Palm Beach/Ft. Pierce, Fla. (+6)

*+/- numbers in parenthesis reflect movement in rankings from previous year.

Austin is not on this list so, why does this concern me in Austin?

Not being on this list is great but does not mean that beg bugs are not a problem or a potential threat in Austin.  Bed bugs travel on clothes, suitcases and other belongings when we travel both in and out of the US.  They are remarkable resilient bugs.  Traveling as close as Dallas, which went from #50 to #7 in one year, could bring bed bugs.  Austin is not safe from this epidemic.  Quick treatment and smart travel is essential to controlling bed bugs.  Austin doesn’t have to make this list.

I’m going to one of these cities, how do I prevent bringing bed bugs home?

Before traveling anywhere, check reviews for all locations you will be staying.  A great resource is also http://www.bedbugregistry.com.  This site enables to you to search by city for reports of bed bugs.  Austin and other major cities across the US are easily accessible.

If you think you have returned home with bed bugs, Austin offers great pest control options.  There are even “green” options to eradicate bed bugs.  Austin can stay off this list permanently if its residents are proactive with controlling and reporting incidences of bed bug infestation.