Terminix Ranks 2021 Top Bed Bug Cities

As students arrive on college campuses nationwide this fall, Terminix announced its 2021 ranking of the top 50 most bed bug-infested cities in the country.

Terminix Top Bed Bug Cities 2021

As students and parents have arrived on college campuses nationwide this fall, some additional annoying and uninvited roommates may also be taking up residence in dormitories. Bed bugs spread easily by hitching rides on luggage, backpacks and clothing, and can crawl through cracks in the walls, making common spaces of dorm living extremely vulnerable to infestations.

Where Are Bed Bugs Most Common?

The top five cities on this year’s most infested list include Los Angeles claiming the top spot, followed by Cleveland, Philadelphia, Detroit and New York City. Thirteen states had more than one city on the list, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

Terminix based its rankings on the number of requests received from each city in 2021*. The top 50 cities for bed bug infestations in the United States are:

  1. Los Angeles, Calif.
  2. Cleveland, Ohio
  3. Philadelphia, Pa.
  4. Detroit, Mich.
  5. New York, N.Y.
  6. Chicago, Ill.
  7. Dallas, Texas
  8. Indianapolis, Ind.
  9. Cincinnati, Ohio
  10. Atlanta, Ga.
  11. Columbus, Ohio
  12. Houston, Texas
  13. San Francisco, Calif.
  14. St. Louis, Mo.
  15. Washington, D.C.
  16. Pittsburgh, PA
  17. Memphis, TN
  18. Tampa, Fla.
  19. Louisville, Ky.
  20. Phoenix, Ariz.
  21. Dayton, Ohio
  22. Denver, Colo.
  23. Oklahoma City, Okla.
  24. Nashville, Tenn.
  25. Boston, Mass.
  26. Lexington, Ky.
  27. Orlando, Fla.
  28. Little Rock, Ark.
  29. Baltimore, Md.
  30. Charleston, W.Va.
  31. Paducah, Ky.
  32. Toledo, Ohio
  33. Birmingham, Ala.
  34. Grand Rapids, Mich.
  35. South Bend, Ind.
  36. Miami, FL
  37. Flint, Mich.
  38. Shreveport, La.
  39. Kansas City, Mo.
  40. Ft. Smith, Ark.
  41. Springfield, Mo.
  42. Mobile, Ala.
  43. Seattle, Wash.
  44. Milwaukee, Wis.
  45. San Diego, Calif.
  46. Fresno, Calif.
  47. Tulsa, Okla.
  48. Las Vegas, Nev.
  49. Sacramento, Calif.
  50. Dothan, Ala.

Signs of Bed Bugs & Where to Look

A few ways to identify the presence of bed bugs include small blood smears on your sheets, a musty odor, reddish-brown blood spots on your mattress, and bed bugs themselves. In dorm rooms, they tend to live in dressers, clothes, floorboards, couches and mattresses. When fully grown, bed bugs resemble the size, shape and color of an apple seed; however, students should also be on the lookout for recently hatched, cream-colored bed bugs (nymphs) hiding in their fitted sheets.

How to Protect Against Bed Bugs on Campus

Here are a few simple protective measures to help prevent the spread of bed bugs when moving onto campuses:

  1. Add bed bug-proof encasements for your mattress, pillow and box spring to your back-to-school shopping list. Their protective casings will help prevent your bed from becoming a bed bug breeding ground.
  2. Thoroughly search your new dorm room or apartment on move-in day. Take time to lift mattresses, move furniture and peek behind headboards for any signs of bed bugs, including discarded shells (molted exoskeletons); live or dead bugs at mattress seams or furniture joints; a sweet, musty odor; or small blood stains from previous bite victims.
  3. Crack open your textbooks. Bed bugs have been known to travel from one place to the next via the “Second-Hand Textbook Express.”
  4. Hot launder any borrowed or second-hand clothing (following labeled washing directions).
  5. Resist the temptation to pick up discarded furniture. Although a free futon might be appealing, a lurking bed bug infestation is not.
  6. Never leave backpacks or clothing on, under, or near your bed, chairs or upholstered furniture in your room or rooms you are visiting – it’s an easy way to unknowingly transfer hitchhiker bed bugs.
  7. Don’t let your backpack come into contact with others — brief contact with an infested backpack can be an unwanted pest’s invitation to tag along.

Contact a Bed Bug Exterminator

If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your dorm room, ask your university to contact a professional bed bug exterminator immediately. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eliminate, and college RAs are rarely equipped to handle infestations. Without the help of a professional, bed bugs can hide and survive in a home, apartment or dorm room for months.

*This ranking was created by compiling bed bug-specific data of customer interest from Terminix branches across the country. The rankings represent Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with the most leads received between January 1, 2021 and August 20, 2021.


Bed Bug