Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

//Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
By |2019-07-24T17:35:25+00:00July 24th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?


Let's take a closer look at where you might see these pests!

Certain cities are often known for one thing in particular. Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Rome has the Colosseum, and New York has… bed bugs? Okay, sure, the Big Apple also has Broadway, but chances are there are little bugs scurrying around under those theater seats. According to Orkin’s list of Top 50 Bed Bug Cities and Terminix’s 2019 worst bed beg city rankings, NYC is one of the worst bed bug cities in the USA! When asked “Where do bed bugs come from,” both companies have provided their list of top 50 cities with the worst bed bug infestations.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 worst cities for bed bugs from both lists, starting with Orkin.

Orkin’s Top 10 Worst Bed Bug Cities

Orkin’s list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where they performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2017 – November 30, 2018. The ranking also includes both residential and commercial properties.

Also worth noting is that the city of Baltimore topped Orkin’s list for the third straight year in a row. While New York moved up two spots, Atlanta and Philly joined the top ten for the first year, replacing San Francisco and Dallas.

Somebody must be doing something right in Houston, because it dropped nine positions, while Greenville, S.C. rose seven positions, sneaking into the top 20.

Now let’s take a look at Terminix’s top 10 list.

Orkin's Top 10 Worst Bed Bug Cities

Terminix’s Top 10 Worst Bed Bug Cities

Now let’s take a look at Terminix’s top 10 list.

After holding the top spot on the list for two years in a row, Cleveland was able to drop down to number 7, while Philly reclaimed its number 1 ranking, having held the spot back in 2014. We’re not sure what is going on in the state of Ohio these days, but they dominated Terminix’s list claiming six cities in the top 50. Florida is on Ohio’s tail with 5 cities making the list.

Where do bed bugs come from? Studying these two lists, we can tell they come from all over the country.

Terminix Top 10 Worst bed bug Cities

Cities in the News

If the bed bug situation in these cities—Baltimore in particular—is as dire as companies like Orkin and Terminix would have us believe, what sort of news are these crises generating?


If you do a search for “Baltimore bed bugs” – your results will show you a lot of stories mentioning the very fact that Baltimore topped Orkin’s list for the third year in a row. What’s really telling is that one of the top search results is the Baltimore City Health Department website’s bed bug page. The first line, unfortunately, is not very reassuring:

“The Baltimore City Health Department does not have any bed bug mitigation programs; however, we are providing informational materials on bed bugs as a resource for the public.”

Baltimore City Health Department

Washington DC

Washington took the top 2nd slot on Orkin’s list this year, but fortunately, news out of that city is a bit more positive. The district’s law makers are currently reviewing the “Bed bug Control Act of 2019.” This new law would grant the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in D.C. the authority to conduct inspections for bed bugs and issue fines in certain cases of negligence, among other things.

The City of Angels… or Bed Bugs?

Sadly, the news out of Los Angeles is not as positive as Washington. A quick search will return some fairly shocking high-profile stories of bed bug infestations that made the news. One such story is about a couple that sued the well-known Queen Mary Hotel after being bitten extensively by bed bugs during their stay. Tt’s perhaps not so surprising that someone is trying to cash in on this epidemic. The ‘bed bug lawyer’ from Encino, CA specializes in suing hotel and apartment owners when guests and tenants have been bitten.


What compels local politicians to create a task force to deal with a city’s bed bug issue? If you ask Philly Councilman Mark Squilla, he’d tell you dealing with the bed bug nightmare in your own home. After dealing with a bed bug infestation in his home, Squilla helped to create the task force to study Philly’s bed bug problem.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that, so far, none of the task force’s recommendations have been adopted into legislation. In fact, Philly is the only major city that does not employ laws outlining responsibilities for bed bug outbreaks or provide any legal protocol for reporting infestations. Considering the city is often ranked as one of the worst in the country for bed bugs, the lack of legal ramifications is disheartening for residents and visitors to the city.

Where do Bed Bugs Come From? Pretty Much Everywhere!

As we’ve already covered, bed bugs come from all over the country. Clearly, there are not just a handful of cities that are affected. In fact, most major cities from every state either have had or are currently dealing with a major bed bug problem.

This means if you travel (semi) regularly, you have a good chance of coming into contact with bed bugs. According to the 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey conducted by the NPMA, hotels and motels are among the most likely places to run into bed bugs.

Though to get the full answer to “where do bed bugs come from,” we would also have to add used furniture, nursing homes, hospitals, office buildings and laundry mats to the list. In this day and age, you would almost have to never leave your home to be 100% protected from an encounter with a bed bug.

The silver lining to all of this negative bed bug information is that pest professionals have become knights in shining armor to many people. Not only are these pest professionals playing a major role in getting these nationwide infestations under control, but they also stand to make a major profit at the same time.

Interested in learning more about the Polti Cimex Eradicator?