Buggin’ out

Dallas-Fort Worth ranks first in Texas for creepy presence of this tiny pest

DFW ranks first in Texas for creepy presence of this tiny pest

Bed bugs can hide around mattress seams, behind headboards, and in crevices. Courtesy photo

This’ll make your skin crawl: Dallas-Fort Worth is the bed-buggiest metro area in Texas, according to a new ranking. 

A new list from pest control company Orkin ranks DFW first in Texas and 15th in the U.S. among 50 metro areas for bed bugs. At No. 17 nationwide, Houston is the only other Texas metro on the list; Austin and San Antonio were spared the humiliation.

Orkin bases its list on data from the metro areas where it performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2015, to November 30, 2016. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

Creeping to the No. 1 spot on the list is Baltimore, followed by Washington, D.C.; Chicago; New York; Columbus, Ohio; and Los Angeles.

“We have more people affected by bed bugs in the United States now than ever before,” Ron Harrison, entomologist and director of technical services at Orkin, says in a release. “They were virtually unheard of in the U.S. 10 years ago.”

According to a 2015 survey by the National Pest Management Association, nearly all pest professionals nationwide had treated bed bugs in the previous year.

Bed bugs are “great hitchhikers,” Orkin says, because they easily travel from place to place via luggage, purses and other belongings. Bed bugs can be found in an array of spots, including homes, apartments, hotels, movie theaters and offices.

“Anyone can get bed bugs in their home. They are not a sign of uncleanliness. Bed bugs only need blood to survive,” Harrison says. “We have treated for bed bugs in everything from million-dollar homes to public housing.”

Bed bugs can be difficult to detect and treat because of their small size and their ability to survive up to a year without feeding, Orkin says. Fully grown, a bed bug is the size of an apple seed. As such, they can hide around mattress seams, behind headboards, and in cracks and crevices.

“People may have bed bugs and not know it, because many people have no physical reaction to bed bug bites,” Harrison says. “That’s why it’s important for people everywhere to inspect for bed bugs regularly.”