COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus and Cleveland are ranked fifth and sixth on a national survey for the worst cities with bed bugs. The survey was conducted by Orkin, the pest control company.

Their list is composed of the top 50 cities with frequent bed bug cases and is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2019, to Nov. 30, 2020. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

Experts say bed bugs can live dormant for several months before festering for blood, their food source. Bed bug bites can cause different effects on different people, says Orkin Technical Services Manager Benjamin Hottel.

“Everyone reacts definitely. There are people that don’t react at all. There are some people that have delayed reactions,” says Hottel, adding that bad infestations can lead to more bite marks and discomfort.

Getting rid of bed bugs can tricky as well. Hottel says heat can be used to kill all life stages of bed bugs, but doing it alone can be difficult.

Typically, bed bugs live in tight squeezed areas like couches, purses, and clothing. Hottel says a professional may need to get involved to fully debug an area.

“They can get into cracks and creases that you might miss and it’s best to get a professional,” He also mentioned that pest professionals use specific insecticides to kill the bed bugs.

When visiting hotels, experts say to keep suitcases and bags away from the bed if bed bugs are discovered.

Orkin uses the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to help travelers check for bed bugs:

  • Survey the room for signs of an infestation. Be on the lookout for tiny, black, ink-colored stains on mattress seams, in soft furniture and behind headboards. They can even hide out in electrical outlets and picture frames.
  • Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.
  • Examine your luggage carefully while repacking and once you return home from a trip. Always store luggage away from the bed. Be sure to also examine all secondhand furniture and clothing before bringing it in your home and inspect after guests visit.
  • Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 45 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

For more information about bed bug prevention, visit Listen to our interview with a bed bug expert above.