New York City has topped a lot of lists in its time. It’s been singled out as tops in culture and nightlife; fine food and live music; diversity and creativity. The Big Apple has even topped the list of most popular branded merchandise. But there are some top ten lists no city wants land on, and that’s the annual ranking of cities with the most bed bug infestations.
New York Returns to the Top Ten
The last time New York City made the top ten list of bed bug infested cities was 2018, when it came in 2nd in the national rankings. Since then bed bug infestations have been on a steady decline But that run of good luck has come to an abrupt end. This year New York City has returned to the top ten – slotting in at a disappointing 3rd place. Not the city’s worst showing, but a major jump of 9 points over last year where it avoided the top ten by coming in at a lowly 12th place.
So what happened? How did NYC go from 12th place to 3rd place in a year?
Bed Bugs Return to the Big Apple
The reduction in bed bug populations over the last couple of years is not entirely due to diligence and clean living. Some of it was an unlikely result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sudden drop in local and international travel, coupled with an increase in people working from home, provided bed bugs with fewer opportunities to hitch rides on temporary hosts and limited their access to fresh environments. The decline in travel effectively made it more difficult for bed bugs to spread throughout communities leading to a marked dip in new infestations.
But over the last year or so travel restrictions have been lifted. The city is once again filled with international travelers, homegrown tourists, and stalwart office workers rushing up and down the subway steps. The Big Apple is as vibrant as ever and bed bugs are taking advantage of the traveler’s return to make their latest comeback, and they’re meeting with less resistance this time around.
The pandemic may have allowed for a brief respite from the spread of bed bugs but sooner or later the other shoe had to drop. Travel returned to the city at the same time that many employers struggled with labor shortages. The hospitality industry was particularly hard hit and that means that many hotels had difficulties maintaining a high standard of bed bug vigilance. The result is a new and vigorous spread of bed bugs throughout the city.
This Year’s Bed Bug Rankings
So where does this leave New York City in the annual ranking of cities with the worst bed bug infestations? Well, the city has lost ground in its ongoing battle with these blood-sucking pests. After a few years safely out of the top ten the Big Apple is once again at the top of the rankings.
Let’s take a closer look at how this year’s ranking stacks up:
- Philadelphia (up 12 places over last year)
- New York City (up 9 places over last year)
- Baltimore (down 3 places over last year)
- Indianapolis (up 1 place)
- Washington, DC (down 4 places over last year)
- Cleveland (down 2 places over last year)
- Columbus (down 4 places over last year)
- Cincinnati (down 2 places over last year)
As you can see New York City has had a major bump in bed bug activity. Nine places is a sizable jump in the rankings. Still, Ohio has secured three (count ‘em three) places on this year’s ranking. So, all in all, it could be worse.
Vigilance Remains Key to Beating Back the Rise in Bed Bug Infestations
New York City’s bump in bed bug infestations should be cause for concern. But there’s no reason to be alarmed. Vigilance is key. If you’re traveling be sure to inspect your lodgings for signs of bed bug activity before settling in to your rooms. Inspect your luggage before packing to return home. Follow recognized bed bug prevention tips as much as possible.
If you should suspect that you have brought bed bugs into your home or workplace contact a professional bed bug inspection and removal service at the earliest opportunity. Let’s make sure New York City is out of this top ten as quickly as possible.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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