We think Cincinnati is a great city (we live and work here, after all!). There are many reasons to be proud of our hometown: its fast-growing economy, exceptional universities, award-winning restaurants, and beloved sports teams, to name a few.
But there’s one thing we’re not proud of: Cincinnati has the dubious honor of being the #8 city in the country for having bed bugs.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati has ranked in the top 10 for the past six years. For the past two years, Cincinnati has retained the #8 spot. This is an improvement from 2011 (that year, we earned the #1 spot). Still, that’s probably not too comforting for Cincinnati residents.
You might ask, “Why Cincinnati?” To answer that, we have to back up a bit and talk about the history of bed bugs in the United States.
Bed bugs have been a problem for—quite literally—thousands of years. (Archaeologists have found fossilized bed bugs in a 3,550-year-old site in Egypt!) They were probably brought to the United States by early colonists, and they remained a problem until the 1950s. The use of the pesticide DDT, along with the introduction of vacuum cleaners, almost completely eliminated bed bugs in the United States.
In the last several decades, however, bed bugs have come back with a vengeance. There are a few reasons for this. The U.S. stopped using DDT in the 1970s after serious concerns about its effects on human health and the environment came to light. Since then, we have developed pesticides to kill cockroaches—a natural predator of bed bugs. Bed bugs have also become resistant to many pesticides (including DDT), making them harder to kill. On top of all this, bed bugs have spread more easily thanks to an increase in the popularity of air travel and secondhand furniture.
Now that bed bugs are back, they take up residence (almost) indiscriminately. Bed bug infestations can happen anywhere—in clean homes and filthy homes, in expensive homes and cheap homes. Bed bugs like to set up camp wherever there are people, including houses, apartment buildings, hotels, motels, college dorms, nursing homes, office buildings, schools, day care centers, hospitals, train/bus stations, movie theaters, libraries, and laundromats.
That said, there are a few reasons why Cincinnati has become such an attractive destination for bed bugs. Cincinnati is urban, with a relatively large population and a busy airport. It has these features in common with some of the other cities high on the bed bug list: Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Columbus, Ohio. Some evidence suggests that bed bugs prefer urban environments over rural ones, and it’s certainly true that bed bugs are easily spread by travelers.
Bed bugs are a problem in Cincinnati, but that doesn’t mean your home is doomed to get them. It just means that you and your family need to take extra precautions. We recommended taking the following steps:
- Clean and declutter your home regularly. (Having a clean home won’t protect you from getting bed bugs, but it will allow you to spot them earlier.)
- Inspect any secondhand items you purchase for bed bugs, particularly furniture and bedding.
- Check your hotel room for bed bugs before unpacking your suitcase.
- Inspect your home for bed bugs regularly. (Bed bugs like to hide around mattress seams, headboards, electrical outlets, and corners.)
- Dry any fabric items suspected of having bed bugs on your dryer’s highest setting.
If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your home, it’s important to take action quickly. Don’t wait for the infestation to get worse!
Concerned you might have a bed bug infestation on your hands? Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.