10 Worst Cities in America for Bedbugs

Health & Safety — By on July 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm

by Amanda Pressner
LG Executive Editor

So all, I apologize in advance for a truly creepy crawly topic, but this is an issue that definitely affects those of you out there who are couch-surfing or hosteling it up for the summer. Bedbugs–those tiny bloodsucking creatures that are all but impossible to eradicate–have been chewing their way through several American cities. They’ve become so prevalent, in fact, that Insight Pharmaceuticals, the makers of a company called Pronto Plus (a bug spray) released a list of the country’s 10 most infested cities.

It may be tough to avoid the nasty little biters completely, but it pays to ask the hostel (or the host that you’re staying with) if they’ve ever experienced issues in the past–based on their answer, you might want to make other arrangements.

Without further ado, here’s the list of US destinations where you’ll want to watch your back (and other body parts):

  1. Columbus, Ohio. Columbus has been fighting a major bedbug infestation for years, and enacted a bedbug oversight committee to marshal forces to fight this incipit outbreak. Recently, the State of Ohio asked the EPA to allow the use of Propoxur to help fight the problem. Its request was denied.
  2. New York. The Big Apple’s war on bedbugs has been well documented. A group of concerned citizens started a NYC bedbug advisory board whose efforts recently ended in failure as government officials viewed the bedbug problem as having no fiscal impact.
  3. Toronto, Canada. Toronto’s ongoing bedbug fight required the city to use bedbug sniffing dogs in advance of the recent G20 meeting. Toronto’s Etobicoke General Hospital was also recently found to be harboring the blood sucking pests.
  4. Bloomington, Ind. So severe is Bloomington’s fight against bedbugs that the town recently invested $50,000 in bedbug eradication equipment that will fry the invaders with heat and help put a stop to the town’s “epidemic.”
  5. Manchester, N.H. The city of Manchester formed a Bed Bug Action Committee to combat increasing incidences of bedbugs.
  6. San Francisco. There have been 17 reports of bedbugs reported in San Francisco in the month of June. Note that not all bedbug cases are reported.
  7. Durham, N.C. North Carolina has had such dramatic problems with bedbugs that four of the state’s congressional members introduced a bill in Congress to establish a grant program to assist states in inspecting hotel rooms for bedbugs, and protect apartment renters.
  8. Vancouver, Canada. A quick review of BedbugRegistry.com shows that new infestations are appearing in this city every day.
  9. Chicago. Concerned individuals in Chicago formed a bedbug policy advocacy group, which cites evidence indicating that Chicago bedbug infestations are on the rise.
  10. Denver. The bedbug problem in Denver has become such a problem that the local library had to destroy rare books that were hundreds of years old after a recent infestation.
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  • Rena says:

    please check your info before reposting inaccurate info. This is a marketing campaign from the company that sells bed bug chemicals. the cities listed are their ‘new markets’ and there is no facts to support their allegations. At least one of the cities is pursuing legal action.

  • Lost Girls says:

    Hi Rena,
    Thanks for helping keep us on our journalistic toes! This links contained in this piece go to legit news sources and sites, so I felt that it was fair to post. Begbugs ARE a big problem, esp in NYC–there was a huge feature on them (a cover story) in New York Magazine this summer.


  • rena says:

    ‘Insight Pharmaceuticals, the makers of a company called Pronto Plus (a bug spray) released a list of the country’s 10 most infested cities.’ Again, marketing from the company. I don’t consider info released by the company SELLING the product to be impartial.

  • doc says:

    a days inn off i95 north caolina groo should been demolished and the price to stay off the wall

  • Leigh says:

    Curious – are there any accurate non-biased statistics for bed bug findings/infestations in other countries throughout the world? London? Paris? Barcelona? Santiago? Cancun, etc? Do they have statistics? I know they’re everywhere — Egyptians reportedly have drawings of bedbugs etched onto cave walls from tens of thousands of years ago. (I may have read that in that New York magazine article as well) But from a modern day traveling standpoint, are there some places that are a little safer from these things or where the epidemic just hasn’t reached yet?

  • jg says:

    >>But from a modern day traveling standpoint, are there some places
    >>that are a little safer from these things or where the epidemic
    >>just hasn’t reached yet?

    Iraq should be safe — summer temperatures regularly top 50C and the little critters and their eggs die above 45C so you’re guaranteed a yearly purge of the blighters.

  • Tony King says:

    I have a pest control company in London UK and i can tell you that there is well and truly an epidemic here. We have had a serious rise in infestations from February onwards and it is a constant battle to keep them under control. We are constantly rotating the insecticides that we use in order to prevent reistance

  • Gail Simmons says:

    Very interesting bed bug blog from Toronto:


    Bed bugs have gone crazy in Toronto in the last six months!

    A new law is being proposed that would require landlords to certify that an apartment is ‘bed bug free’ before renting it.

  • Gail Simmons says:

    Also, forgot to mention that if you are suffering with bed bugs in Toronto there is an interesting company that offers bed bug extermination and also laundry service and preparation for bed bugs.

    They can be found here:


  • This is the best summary of the “Insight” top list our site has seen! Nice background on the highlighted cities and good job in general T.L.G.!

    One of the posters on this article does raise a valid issue of concern however (Rena pointing out that Insight is in the business of providing products for bed bug containment, our site has grappled with her very concern as well…). Unfortunately though, there is very little non-biased reporting on actual case numbers via governmental or non-profits… Blog writers and news sites must do the best they can and sift through the stats (always taking the press releases with a grain of salt however!) when it comes to actual numbers and percentage increases year over year on a city by city basis.

  • Jean Hike says:

    There is a site that you can order CEDAR CIDE which not only kills bed bugs but keeps them away, It is made out of Cedar, Think about it the Amish do not have bed bugs and just about everything they make is out of cedar

  • Jean Hike says:

    Also you can order it from the Amish

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  • Ian says:


  • Ian says:

    Also incorrect.

    These Buggers Die at 130-140 Degrees

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  • Isa says:

    I live in Fort Worth, TX. We recently encountered bedbugs in our homne and fortunately we caught them soon after establishment. I learned from my pest control company that within the last 6 months (April to October of 2011) that bedbugs have moved into Fort Worth by unprecedented numbers…one company alone is receiving 5-7 calls per day about possible bed bug infestations. I, personally, would like to see a monthly national static reporting center so we can see the bugs actual growth… city by city and state by state. More important, we need to find a way to eradicate them…they are disruptive to our home life, schools, retail shopping as well as on line shopping, our ocial life and recreation and hospitality, hospitals, clinics and doctor offices, spas, salons and gyms, the work place and all forms of travel. They should be declared a national disaster with government funding used to find a means to rid us of them. I must write a letter to my Congressmen and President!

  • Allen says:


    You sound like a slumlord who lives in complete denial that your rental properties are infested with bedbugs, and blame each and every new tenant that THEY brought the bugs in.

    When you force your tenant to pay out of their pocket to hire a company like Terminix, you get mad at them for hiring Terminix (the largest pest control company in America, by the way).

    When your now angry tenants report you infested rental properties on bedbug report (a non-profit website), you then blame Terminix for reporting you, because you are too stupid to realize that all the Terminix pay-per-click ads on the report site are auto generated from Google adsense, and the pest control company does not own the site, or report anyone for that matter.

    This is all from personal experience from a slumlord who made idiotic comments exactly like yours, Rena.

    And NO, no city is pursuing and legal action, in fact, the city municipalities that are hit the worst by the new bed bug infestation, are pursuing every possible resource to fight the problem. The biggest problem being slumlords, like you, who let the infestation spread.

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  • Bed bugs will continue to be a growing problem in all major North American cities. I am from Toronto, the problem is getting worse and worse every year. There are some parts of the city that apartments are infested to the point that no bed bug control solution is effective. We simply refuse to take jobs in those areas.

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