After slipping to no. 3 in 2017, the Windy City has again overtaken Baltimore and Washington for the most bed-bug infestations.



CHICAGO — The Windy City is known for quite a few things: hot dogs, deep dish, baseball. But here's one thing you probably don't associate with Chicago: bed bugs. Turns out these tiny hitchhiking pests are quite fond of our city, according to the latest numbers available through Atlanta-based Orkin, a company that specializes in pest control services.

In fact, Chicago ranked no. 1 on the 2021 list, according to Orkin, reclaiming the top spot for the first time since 2017, when it slipped to no. 3, just behind Baltimore and Washington. For the sixth year in a row, Orkin also ranked Chicago the "rattiest" city in America.

Cities were ranked according to where Orkin performed the most bed-bug treatments between Dec. 1, 2019, and Nov. 30, 2020. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

So, why share this creepy crawly revelation now?

In just a few days, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) kicks off Bed Bug Awareness Week , which runs June 6-12. The goal of the campaign is to help people recognize a bed bug infestation and know how to curb it.

Also, the number of people itching to travel is growing as more Americans become vaccinated against COVID-19.

Over Memorial Day weekend, the Transportation Security Administration screened about 7.1 million people at U.S. airport checkpoints. On Sunday, about 1.9 million people traveled — eight times more than on the same day in 2020.

Since bed bugs are widely associated with travel, people must stay vigilant, according to Cindy Mannes, executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance — especially after months of coronavirus-related restrictions and lockdowns.