Bed Bug Facts and Statistics 2019
Bed bugs are probably the last thing on your mind when you crawl into bed, but with America currently experiencing a bed bug epidemic, these statistics below do not make for restful sleeping!
Bed bugs – Number 1 pest in America
Each year the National Pest Management Association conducts a survey on the prevalence of bed bugs in America. As a bed bug epidemic sweeps the States, we take an in-depth look at some of these shocking bed bug facts and statistics.
How common are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are incredibly common in America – in fact they remain the number 1 pest – with 97% of all pest control professionals having treated cases of bed bugs in the past year and 68% agreeing, that bed bugs are the hardest pests to control. It therefore comes as no surprise to learn that numbers of these challenging critters continue to rise.
Of all pest control professionals surveyed, 50% agreed that the most popular months for bed bug complaints were summertime, due to an increase in travel and students returning from summer vacations. As the temperature soars, we throw back the covers and wear less when sleeping exposing our skin for bed bugs to feast.
Bed bugs are taking over the States
A few decades ago, bedbugs were considered a novelty in developed countries. However, since early 2000, infestations have become more common in places such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe. And, not only are there more bed bugs than ever before, but according to the journal of economic entomology, they are getting harder to deter, as they become less susceptible to insecticides.
Top bed bug infested cities in America
Maryland’s largest city may be famous for its pretty inner harbor, crab houses and quirky art scene, but Baltimore it is also renowned for bed bugs. Topping the list of the most infested bed bug cities in America, Baltimore has retained this title for three years running! However, Baltimore is not the only East Coast offender, as Washington, New York City, Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia all make the top 10 list.
There are some cities that crawled up the rankings such as Atlanta and Philadelphia, which had managed to lay lower down the list on previous years. Some cities seem to be fighting the bed bug problem such as Denver, whereas some cities including San Diego and New Orleans are entering for the first time. But trust me, this is one accolade your city won’t be advertising any time soon.
Take a look at the bed bug map below, that shows where in the States you are most likely to encounter bed bugs.
- Washington, D.C.
- Los Angeles
- Columbus, Ohio
- New York (+2)
- Cincinnati (-1)
- Detroit (-1)
- Atlanta (+4)
- Philadelphia (+2)
- Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio (-1)
- Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (-3)
- Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (-5)
- Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va. (+2)
- Charlotte, N.C. (-3)
- Buffalo, N.Y. (-2)
- Knoxville, Tenn.
- Nashville, Tenn. (+1)
- Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich. (+4)
- Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C.
- Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. (+4)
- Phoenix (-1)
- Denver (-6)
- Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (+1)
- Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (+5)
- Boston (-4)
- Syracuse, N.Y. (+7)
- Dayton, Ohio (-2)
- St. Louis (+2)
- Seattle (-2)
- Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (+9)
- Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, M.I. (new to list)
- Omaha, N.E. (-6)
- Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa (-2)
- San Diego (new to list)
- Lexington, Ky. (+1)
- Honolulu, Hawaii (+5)
- Louisville, Ky. (-3)
- Las Vegas (+4)
- Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, N.C. (-4)
- New Orleans (new to list)
- Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. (-9)
- Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (-14)
- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. (new to list)
Top 10 bed bug infested cities in Canada
It’s not just America where bed bugs are rampant, in Canada bed bugs are also considered to be a serious pest with the issue now spiraling out of control. Most affected by bedbugs are the large tourist cities such as Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. Take a look at our bed bug map for Canada, to see whether you can rest easy on your next adventure.
- St. John’s
Where are bed bugs most prevalent?
Although bed bugs are non-discriminant, it comes as no surprise to see that the most popular places to encounter bed bugs are from public properties, where there is a high turnover of people. Just like us, bed bugs love to travel and hitchhike their way into our suitcases, purses, clothes and furniture.
Take a look at these astonishing statistics below of the properties in which bed bugs are most prevalent:
- Single family homes – 91%
- Apartments/condominiums – 89%
- Hotels/motels – 68%
- Nursing homes – 59%
- School/day care centers – 47%
- Offices – 46%
- College dormitories – 45%
- Hospitals – 36%
- Doctors’ office – 33%
- Public transport – 29%
- Retail outlets – 20%
- Movie theatres – 16%
Notoriously difficult to get rid of and incredibly tenacious by nature, bed bugs have the ability to survive without a good feed for up to a year. They can climb through the smallest of gaps, transport themselves between rooms and even travel from apartment to apartment. Most people are unaware of a bed bug infestation until it becomes severe, with a staggering 92% only reporting a bed bug invasion having had a reaction or upon showing obvious symptoms of bed bug bites.
Hotel bed bug statistics
With hotels featuring in the top three most bed bug affected places to stay, the University of Kentucky undertook some research in 2015 to find out just how influential the threat of bed bugs was to travelers, when selecting a place to rest.
Over 50% of regular travelers surveyed said that they never worried about bed bugs whilst taking a trip! This was in spite of the fact that 33% of all business travelers and 20% of all leisure travelers knew someone or had experienced bed bugs themselves!
82% of all hotels in the States have had to seek treatment for bed bugs. For hoteliers’, bed bugs are not only detrimental to their reputation, with websites such as bedbugregistry.com naming and shaming establishments, but can be costly in terms treatment, replacement linen and loss of business. Plus, there is also the added threat of litigation, with 45% of affected hotels having faced legal action for bed bugs. However, as hotels become more bed bug aware, prevention programs have become common place.
How to get rid of bed bugs
2018 saw the biggest outbreak of bed bugs ever across America, so it’s important that 2019 is the year that we start to fight back!
There are a number of rules for travelling, that if adhered too, should ensure you return from your vacation bed bug free. It’s the little things that can make a big difference such as using a hard suitcase, placing your clothes well away from furniture, drawers and beds and surveying your room for any signs of bed bug activity.
When at home, always ensure that you check and deep clean your bedding regularly, use protective mattress covers, maintain cracks and crevasses, declutter and install door sweeps if necessary. And, always remember, when buying second-hand furniture or clothes that you examine them thoroughly before bringing them into your home.
If it is too late to simply implement preventative measures and a bed bug outbreak has already occurred, then it is important that you act immediately. If you can not afford a pest control service, then there are plenty of D-I-Y solutions readily available. From powders and sprays to vacuums and steamers there are plenty of ways to banish bed bugs.
For a full break down on what bed bugs look like, where they live and how to eradicate them, take a look at our comprehensive guide on how to get rid of bed bugs.