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Pittsburgh Makes List Of Top 20 Bed Bug Cities In U.S.

Carolyn Kaster
In this Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2011 file photo, a bed bug is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington.

Pittsburgh isn’t the worst place for bed bugs in the U.S., but it did make a list of the country’s top offenders, according to Terminix.

The extermination company released a list of the top cities for bed bugs based on the volume of service requests for the first half of the year.

Pittsburgh ranked No. 12, just below Philadelphia, which ranked No. 10 on the list. However, you don't have to travel far to find the worst city for bed bugs: Cleveland, Ohio.

“Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate,” said Paul Curtis, director of technical services at Terminix, in a press release. “And they can travel to new locations very easily—hitching a ride on clothing, handbags, suitcases and taxis, which can create substantial infestations in no time.”

Local officials have also warned that the region has been hit especially hard by tick season.

According to data compiled by Terminix, bed bug infestations have risen over the last 20 years and pointed to possible resistance to insecticide and travel as likely causes.

Below is the full list of top bed bug-infested cities:

  1. Cleveland, Ohio
  2. Cincinnati, Ohio
  3. Detroit, Mich.
  4. Las Vegas, Nev.
  5. Denver, Colo.
  6. Houston, Texas
  7. Phoenix, Ariz.
  8. Indianapolis, Ind.
  9. Oklahoma City, Okla.
  10. Philadelphia, Pa.
  11. Baltimore, Md.
  12. Pittsburgh, Pa.
  13. Washington, D.C.
  14. Tucson, Ariz.
  15. San Francisco, Calif.
  16. St. Louis, Mo.
  17. Atlanta, Ga.
  18. Tampa, Fla.
  19. Memphis, Tenn.
  20. San Diego, Calif.

If you're traveling, Sarah Ferrese, a physician assistant at MedExpress in Shadyside, said to first look for signs of bed bugs before you even bring your luggage into your hotel room or rental.  
“Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, headboards, any little crevice in the corners of chairs, other furniture that are in the room, cracks in wallpaper," she said. 

But, if you miss them during your inspection, there are a few things to look out for. As Ferrese explains, not everyone reacts the same way to bed bug bites.

“Some people have absolutely no reaction, other people react the same way as they would to a flea or mosquito bite," she said. 

In some extreme cases, some people may even have an anaphylactic reaction. If you do get bitten, she says to avoid scratching, which can cause infection and use topical creams or antihistamines. 

And to avoid bringing any bed bugs in your home, she says, be sure to leave your luggage outside or in the garage and wash all of your clothes immediately. 

The Associated Press contributed to this story. 

*UPDATED: Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.

Sarah Kovash previously worked as a web producer for KDKA-TV, as a freelance journalist for the Valley News Dispatch covering local government throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley and at NPR station KPBS in San Diego.