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L.A. places No. 5 on list of 'Top 50 Bed Bug Cities'

March 21, 2012 | 12:53 pm

Bed bugsThe bed bugs are alive and biting in Los Angeles, so much so the city vaulted Wednesday into the top five of an exterminator’s “Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List.”   

According to the pest-control company Orkin, Los Angeles climbed 25 spots to place No. 5 in its annual list of bug-infested cities.

Cincinnati and Chicago held on to the top spots, finishing No.1 and 2 respectively, but several large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles showed increases in the number of bed-bug treatments in 2011.

The Bay Area, for example, jumped 35 spots on the top-50 list to No. 12.

Orkin entomologist Ron Harrison said that in recent years, bed bugs appear to be getting carried south to areas such as Los Angeles and Dallas that are huge transportation hubs.

“I think everybody in the county ought to be concerned,” Harrison said. “You have to be cautious where you travel and not stay in hotels where you have bed bugs. The worry isn’t as much about getting bit as it is about bringing them into the home.”

Harrison said bed bugs carry human pathogens and can leave itchy welts on victims but do not carry diseases. He estimated Orkin has treated thousands of homes and businesses in California, and the company owns only about a 20% market share.

Orkin’s study reported the bed-bug extermination business was up 33.6% last year. Harrison said treatments in Los Angeles range from several hundred dollars to more than $1,000.

“If you find yourself in a situation with an infestation, it’s not pleasant,” he said. “Changing your life for months is not fun.”

The Northern California cities of Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto were grouped together for the study and collectively finished 41st. It was the third and final California area on the top 50 list.

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-- Matt Stevens

Twitter.com/mattstevenslat

Photo: Bed bugs are great hitchhikers and can easily crawl into personal belongings such as suitcases. Credit: Orkin, LLC

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