BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore has ranked number one on a list no city wants to be at the top of.
It’s been named the number one city in the U.S. for beg bug infestations by the Orkin extermination company. Followed by D.C., Chicago, New York and Columbus, Ohio.
Orkin says Baltimore received more calls for bed bug treatments last year than anywhere else in the country. This is the first time Charm City has made the top five on the list, moving up from ninth place last year.
The pests have been reported not only in private homes, but inside city courthouses, at the State Highway Administration headquarters and inside the Maryland State Comptroller’s Office.
Orkin says they get calls for treatments every single day, “from the highest of hotels to the most expensive houses, all the way down to public housing,” says spokeswoman Ashley Hooper. “Everybody’s susceptible.”
Shawn Mueller, director of infection prevention and control at Medstar Union Memorial, says luckily, bed bugs do not spread disease, just annoyance.
“You can pick one up in a motel or a hotel or a cruise and not even know it,” said Mueller.
But after the holidays, experts say they expect a surge in that annoyance.
People can carry little hitchhikers back from places they’ve visited that are infested, so keep an eye out for that belated holiday “gift.”
And if you plan to travel this year, an expert tip for you: When you check in to a hotel, leave your luggage in the bathroom and check the mattress before bringing any of your belongings further into the room. The bugs leave behind small black stains on mattresses.