Chicago takes top spot on bed bug cities list – again

For the second year in a row, Chicago has claimed the top spot on Orkin's 50 Bed Bug Cities List Monday for being infested with the most bed bugs nationwide.

It's the second unwanted distinction the pest control service has bestowed on the Windy City in the last three months. In October, Chicago took the top spot for the rattiest city in America, according to Orkin.

Two northeast cities saw the biggest jump on the list, landing them in the top five – Philadelphia rose 12 spots to claim #2, and New York moved up nine spots to #3.


Rounding out the top 10 were Detroit, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio; and Cincinnati.

Two new cities joined the list including Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Lincoln, Nebraska. Meanwhile, St. Louis and San Francisco found their way into the top 20.

Bed bug feeding on human skin. (Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images / Getty Images)

As travel begins to resurge in the U.S. amid the evolving pandemic, Orkin said an increase in bed bug transmission is likely as the critters hitch rides across the country on restless Americans looking for a getaway.

Staffing shortages at hotels could also impact bed bug monitoring, Orkin said.

"Unfortunately, many hospitality businesses are facing staffing shortages, and while the industry remains committed to cleanliness, now more than ever, travelers should be mindful of bed bug sightings and proactive in inspection efforts." said Ben Hottel, an Orkin entomologist.

Bed bugs are dark brown in color and 3/16 inches long. They are mostly nocturnal insects that can easily travel from place to place through items such as luggage, purses and other personal belongings, according to Orkin.

"Bed bugs are a concern for everyone because they are master hitchhikers, traveling home with people when they likely don’t realize it," said Hottel. "Their nature of hiding in difficult-to-find cracks and crevices can make them hard to control, which is why involving a trained professional at the sight of an introduction is recommended."


Bedbugs are known for rapid population growth and can survive for long periods of time, which can make for a difficult and costly process when trying to eliminate them, according to Orkin.

Orkin's 2021 list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where the company performed the most bed bug treatments from Dec. 1 2020 to Nov. 30, 2021. The rankings include both residential and commercial treatments.

Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List

  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) 
  11. Grand Rapids, MI (-1) 
  12. Los Angeles (-3) 
  13. Champaign, IL (+2) 
  14. Atlanta (-1) 
  15. Charlotte, N.C. (-4) 
  16. Dallas-Ft. Worth 
  17. Denver (+3) 
  18. St. Louis, MO (+7) 
  19. San Francisco (+3) 
  20. Pittsburg (-1) 
  21. Greenville, S.C. (+2) 
  22. Charleston, W.V. (-4) 
  23. Flint, MI (-2) 
  24. Raleigh, N.C. (-7) 
  25. Norfolk, VA (-1) 
  26. Richmond, VA 
  27. Omaha (+3) 
  28. Buffalo, N.Y. (+1) 
  29. Knoxville (+7) 
  30. Cedar Rapids, IA (+5) 
  31. Toledo, OH (-4) 
  32. Dayton, OH (-4) 
  33. South Bend, IN (+8) 
  34. Nashville (-3) 
  35. Davenport, IA (+3) 
  36. Ft. Wayne, IN (-3) 
  37. Youngstown (+3) 
  38. Milwaukee (-6) 
  39. Miami (+8) 
  40. Tampa (-1) 
  41. Houston (-4) 
  42. Harrisburg (new to list) 
  43. Greensboro, N.C. (-9) 
  44. Seattle 
  45. Peoria, IL (+4) 
  46. Orlando (-1) 
  47. Lexington, KY (-4) 
  48. Lansing, MI 
  49. Louisville, KY (-3) 
  50. Lincoln, NE (new to list)