Worst Cities for Bed Bugs in the US

The summer travel season is about to start – and this year may be the busiest in a long time. Americans will likely be traveling more this year, possibly surpassing pre-pandemic levels of travel. High inflation and soaring fuel prices have added some uncertainty; however, many people are still making plans to experience that well overdue vacation. 

Every year Orkin publishes their research on the worst city for bed bug infestations. This year the big winner (which actually is the biggest loser) is the “Windy City” – Chicago. Chicago is no stranger to the top ten in this list, but this year they ranked first for a second year in a row. If you would like to see if the city that you plan to visit this summer has made the top 50, you can check it out here.

We would like to share with our fellow travelers a few helpful tips to possibly avoid one of the largest summer pitfalls you may encounter as you travel – bed bugs. If your plans include traveling to some of the worst cities for bed bugs, these tips will assist you in avoiding a bed bug infestation.      


Here are some precautions to take when traveling:

  • Do a thorough inspection of your hotel room, Air BnB, VRBO, or resort room. Start with the bed. Check the headboard. If possible, look at the back side of the headboard. Bed bugs will most often be found on the back side of the headboard that is next to the wall. Check the bed coverings. Carefully pull back each cover individually and look for signs that bed bugs have been there, usually dark spots or shed skins. Next, check the mattress. The mattress is the most obvious place to spot bed bugs and their remains. Like the sheets, you may see stains. When examining the mattress, start at the head of the bed and work your way down to the foot of the bed. Be sure to inspect any type of seam or crevice. Also, it is imperative that you pull back the material piping that is sewn around the perimeter of the mattress because bed bugs love to hide behind the mattress piping. Next, you will need to check the box spring, bed frame, and the underside of the bed skirt. Lastly, check the area surrounding the bed. Pay close attention to the back of drawers and corners of furniture. Although bed bugs are presumed to only be found in a bed, they have the ability to travel to other hiding spots near the bed as well. Check out this video on how to search for bed bugs.
  • Do not put your suitcase or personal belonging on the bed or carpet until after your do an initial inspection for bed bugs. As a general rule, bed bugs prefer textiles over hard surfaces like wood, metal, ceramic, and porcelain. Place your luggage in the bathroom on porcelain tile or in the bathtub while inspecting your room for bed bugs.


If you did not take the needed precautions and you think you may have encountered bed bugs on your trip, here are some preventions you may want to consider to avoid an infestation of bed bugs in your home.

  • Store items in plastic containers while you are traveling back home. You may want to consider a Rubbermaid type of container which is effective in precluding bed bugs from traveling to other areas. 
  • Keep your clothes off the bed. 
  • Wash and dry all of the clothes you took on the trip after arriving home.
  • If you are unable to launder the clothing, move all your clothing and material items from your luggage immediately upon arrival home and place them in the clothes dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting. 
  • You may be able to kill bed bugs on large items such as your suitcase or carry-on by placing them in your car in the sunshine with the widows rolled up on a hot day. A study conducted by Arizona State University has determined that a vehicle left in the sun for only one hour can reach an ambient air temperature of 116°. This temperature is hot enough to be lethal to adult bed bugs.
  • Use a mattress encasement. Mattress encasements are a simple way to trap bed bugs from traveling away from a mattress or to prevent bed bugs from infesting a mattress or box spring. They are highly effective and are an economical way to protect your investment in the mattress. 


  • Lights Out Bed Bug Spray has been developed to address the need for an effective bed bug spray without using noxious pesticides. When applied as directed on the label, Lights Out bed bug spray will kill bed bugs on contact. Mortality occurs within 5-10 minutes of application depending on the life stage of the bed bugs. Any bed bug coming into contact with a surface treated with the spray will be killed for up to 30 days after an application.
  • ZAPPBUG Heat Chambers will treat all your luggage and kill the bed bugs that may have travelled home with you. These portable chambers use heat to kill the bed bugs. Bed bugs begin to die when the ambient temperature reaches 113° and die within mere minutes at 120°. Most complete heat treatments in the chambers will take about six hours and will kill all stages of bed bugs from the eggs to the nymphs to adult bed bugs.  
  • Clean Rest Mattress Encasements will fit over your mattress like a glove and will protect your mattress from bed bugs with its patented Zip-N-Click zipper. They are made without harsh chemicals or fragrances and guarantee a bed bug free experience. 
  • The BBHD Pro-7 is an electric bed bug heater that is a best-in-class for treating small rooms. It operates on 110-volt power and can effectively treat entire rooms up to 275 square feet.   

Are you planning a trip to one of the worst cities for bed bugs as sited by Orkin? Have you just returned from a city that is ranked on the list of worst cities for bed bugs? If you are among the many people who have been gearing up to travel for the first time in a couple of years, or if you have already taken a late spring trip and think you may have brought home some bed bugs – don’t let your perfect summer vacation be ruined by the damage and trauma bed bugs can cause. Call 844-364-3281 and speak to one of our professional technicians today to determine how Bed Bug Heat Doctor/PrevSol can help you with some precautions, preventions, and products.