Orkin Pest Control is one of the largest pest management companies in the U.S. That's why whenever I see Orkin, or other big players, come out with information about trends in pest control around the country, I perk up. Business data from the big pest control companies can tell a lot about what is happening industry-wide in the U.S.
In a recent release put out by PCT Media Group, Orkin ranked the top 50 cities in the U.S. for bed bug jobs. At the top of the list is Cincinnati, Ohio (population 296,000). It's hard not to feel a little sorry for the folks from Cincinnati, whose city ranks 5 places ahead of New York City, despite the Big Apple's reputation as a bed bug haven and its much larger population (8.2 million).
Dallas (1.2 million) still looks relatively good compared to Ohio and New York at 29th on the list. The fourth largest U.S. city, Houston, is ranked 18th on the bed bug list; and Austin, the only other Texas city, is listed as 44th. Other notable bed bug hot spots include Chicago (2nd place, 2.7 million), Denver (4th place, 600,158) and Detroit (5th place, 713,777).
What does this all mean? Without more specific business data from Orkin it's difficult to draw detailed conclusions. For example, we lack data on the actual number of calls by city. Also, it would be interesting to see a breakdown of bed bug infestations by sector (e.g., public housing, hotels, apartments, single family dwellings, etc.) to see what trends might be going on there. Nevertheless, the report clearly shows that bed bugs are not uniformly distributed throughout the U.S.
The top cities may have some unique geographic and socioeconomic conditions, but are likely not too different from most other large cities. The biggest message I take from this is that we should all be prepared. It could get a lot worse. We could be Cincinnati.