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Chicago takes the top spot again in the annual Top 50 US Bed Bug Cities List compiled by Orkin.

The focus on bed bug research is largely driven by the significant bed bug issues in the US, particularly in the major cities. Orkin’s annual Top 50 US Bed Bug Cities List has been topped by Chicago for the second year running, with Philadelphia and New York taking the second and third place spots, respectively. While New York might be thought of as a bed bug hotspot, in fact it’s usually outside of the top ten. Los Angeles comes in at 12th place. The list is based on treatment data from urban areas where Orkin operators performed the most bed bug treatments (both residential and commercial).


Top 10 US Bed Bug Cities List 2021

  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)


Being home to one of the busiest airports in the world, Chicago is a hotspot for bed bugs. With 48 million tourists and business travellers arriving and leaving each year, there is also a significant opportunity for onward dispersal. Chicago also has a busy rail and transit system which aids dispersal across the city, infesting hotels and guesthouses, as well as lower socio-economic housing areas.

With the hospitality industry taking a significant blow during the pandemic, short-staffed hotels may understandably be letting bed bug monitoring practices slide. When the floodgates opened for domestic travel in the US in 2021, bed bugs hitched a ride across the country in the bags of restless Americans heading on holiday, adding to an already established bed bug problem.

“Bed bugs are a concern for everyone because they are master hitchhikers, travelling home with people when they don’t realise it,” said Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist.

Given the likelihood that bed bug management in the hospitality industry has taken a back seat during the pandemic, increased bed bug outbreaks may be expected in Australia. And of course, if you are travelling, carry out the necessary bed bug checks before jumping into your hotel bed and keep your luggage off the floor!