The nation's leading pest control company has released a list of cities with most bed bugs cases and three eastern Iowa cities are on the list.

Orkin's rankings, if you want to call them that, are based on the number of bed bugs treatments they did from December 1, 2015 through the end of November of 2016. It was not a good year for Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Dubuque, which ranks 38th on the list. That's three spots higher than a year ago.

Chicago is at the top of the list for the fifth consecutive year. Here's other midwest cities the made the list and a link to the Top 50.

#45-Kansas City, Missouri
#38-Cedar Rapids/Waterloo/Dubuque
#37-St. Louis, Missouri
#33-Omaha, Nebraska
#30-Champaign/Springfield/Decatur, Illinois
#29-Milwaukee, Wisconsin
#1-Chicago, Illinois

The news, overall, is NOT good from Orkin. Company Entomologist and Director of Technical Services Ron Harrison says, "We have more people affected by bed bugs in the United States now than ever before. They were virtually unheard of in the U.S. 10 years ago."

Feeling a little itchy? Yeah, me too...

Here's some tips, straight from Orkin, about avoiding them in your home and when you're traveling:

At Home:

  • Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check locations where bed bugs hide during the day, including mattress seams and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets, and picture frames. “I like to inspect every week when I change the sheets to make sure I don’t have a visitor,” Harrison says.
  • Decrease clutter around your home to make bed bug inspections and detection much easier.
  • Inspect all second-hand furniture before bringing it inside your home.
  • Dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.

During travel, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P to inspect for bed bugs:

  • Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for black or brown spots on any furniture.
  • Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, bed skirt and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest place is in the bathroom.
  • Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.
  • Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

You may have bed bugs and not know it because many people don't react to their bites. Look for the nasty little characters often and if you see them or small dark stains on your sheets or mattress, you might want to call for reinforcement. You probably won't beat these little (insert any expletive you choose here) by yourself.

Feeling a little itchy? Yeah, me too.

[via Orkin and Orkin]

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