Orkin ranked 50 cities in America from most infested to least infested. Baltimore came in second.
Let me share an anecdote with you ...
Several years ago, I was traveling to run a 5K and had to stay in a hotel the night prior so I could get to the starting line early enough the next day. Well, the morning of the 5K had not quite dawned when I rolled out of bed to get my gear on and much to my HORROR a little blackish looking bug crawled across the tiled floor of the bathroom.
Now, I practically have x-ray vision for this kind of thing. While working as a substitute teacher I spotted a single speck of lice (a louse?) wriggling in a little girl's hair. She was whisked off to the nurse and then home to her doctor and, yup, had the first case of head lice for the school that winter.
I also have a sixth sense for this kind of thing.
Only it's really more "I see parasitic insects."
I had a sinking feeling that this creature making its labored crawl across the bathroom floor was, in fact, a bed bug. So I did what any crazy bug lady would do and stabbed said bug with a safety pin (I had several because that's how you attach your racing number onto your outfit, but I digress) so I could inspect it up close.
Flat body? Check. Reddish-brown in color? Check. Six legs (*this becomes an extremely important detail later in the story*)? Check.
Yes, my friends, we had a bed bug.
So then I did what any internet meme-worthy Karen would do and brought said bed bug on its crazy lady safety pin down to the front desk.
They looked at me like I was a total psycho because I looked like a total psycho. There I was, barely before dawn, leaning across the front desk with a bug stuck to the end of a safety pin (and still alive), whispering that I'm pretty sure you have bed bugs here.
"That's a tick," they said.
"It's not," I said. "It has six legs. Ticks have eight." *SEE I TOLD YOU THIS WAS AN IMPORTANT DETAIL*
I'll skip to the end of the story. They took my specimen in a plastic cup and had a bug guy come out and check it. Turns out the room next door had bed bugs, not mine. But that didn't change the fact that I put everything—and I mean everything—in a trash bag as soon as I got home. I crossed the threshold, stripped, threw everything into a trash bag, brought it all upstairs, dumped what could be washed into the washing machine, and proceeded the run the washer on the hottest cycle twice. From there, everything that could be dried went into the dryer on its hottest cycle twice. If it couldn't be washed, it stayed in the original trash bag with the air squeezed out of it, in the trunk of my car all through the summer. If it was washed it went into a separate trash bag with the air squeezed out of it and thrown into the freezer for a couple months.
How does this apply to you?
Orkin ranked 50 cities in America for their bed bug infestation—from most infested to least infested. Washington, D.C., topped the list, with Baltimore coming in second and Chicago as third. D.C. is a major hub of travel, and since bed bugs are also great at travel, I imagine this is why Washington, D.C., tops the list. It's a fantastic little meeting place for these baby vampires.
And, look, while bed bugs aren't known to transmit major diseases, their bites can itch, they're pests, and it's all-around creepy to think they're crawling on you while you're sleeping. So know where to look for them: headboards, under the mattress, even picture frames. Learn from my story about what they look like (count those legs!) and how to kill them off. Yes, I was a little overzealous with my treatments, but better safe than sorry.
If you live in D.C., inspect your home regularly. If you're traveling, inspect your hotel rooms. Know before you go!
Now excuse me, all this talk of bed bugs is making me feel like I have to shower five times. (In *hot* water!)