New York is still the City That Never Sleeps, but maybe it can rest a little easier now. After two years as the most bedbug-infested city in America, the Big Apple has lost its No. 1 ranking to Philadelphia, according to an annual list published Tuesday.
The dubious honor is bestowed by Terminix, a Memphis-based pest-control firm that compiles bedbug data every year from its 300 branches across the country. The city rankings are created "by evaluating service calls from customers, as well as confirmed cases by service professionals," the company explains in a press release.
Philadelphia wasn't the only city to pass New York in the rankings; Cincinnati moved up to No. 2, pushing NYC down to third. Ohio remains a hotbed of bedbug activity in general, with at least three of its cities — Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland — included in the top 15 for the third year in a row. Chicago and Detroit round out the top five, followed by Washington, Columbus, San Francisco, Denver and New Haven, Conn. The rest of the top 15 are Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami and Cleveland.
"Bedbugs continue to increase their presence across the U.S.," Terminix entomologist Stoy Hedges says in a statement released Tuesday. "While major metropolitan areas are most at risk, it is important to note that bedbugs have been spotted in cities and towns across the country."
Bedbugs were virtually eliminated from the U.S. last century by DDT, a pesticide that was later banned due to its knack for also killing brown pelicans, bald eagles and other birds. The blood-sucking insects have since staged a nationwide comeback, fueled partly by their growing resistance to a variety of pesticides — including DDT.
Bedbugs live inside buildings and typically come out at night, when they pierce the skin and drink the blood of sleeping humans. Unlike mosquitoes, ticks and other animal vampires, they aren't known to transmit any diseases, although recent research suggests they may be capable of spreading antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
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