Courtesy Dr. Josef Reischig, CSc.

Baltimore has another pest-related accomplishment to add to its resume, courtesy of the bug- and mouse-obsessed folks over at Orkin. The pest control professionals released a list today that says Charm City is the most bed bug-infested city in the country.

Baltimore made a troublingly ambitious rise in the rankings since last year, when it placed 10th on a list of 50 cities. In 2016, we supplanted Chicago, which fell from first to third, and jumped Washington D.C, New York City, Los Angeles, Detroit and Philadelphia, among other cities in the top 10. “In the six years Orkin has released the bed bug city rankings, this is the first time Baltimore has made the top five,” the company said excitedly on its website.

We know what you’re thinking: How could they account for all the bed bugs in the entire city in their calculations? That would take years. There’s the key flaw in their methodology – they based the rankings on the number of bed bug treatments of residences and commercial buildings in the metro area between Dec. 1, 2015, and Nov. 30, 2016.

Of course, that’s just the type of nonsense that we would tell ourselves so that we can try to sleep at night without fear of some minuscule critters chomping at us for our blood. In reality, a nine-place jump in the rankings in one year is pretty disconcerting. Only five years ago, Baltimore was right in the middle of the pack at eighteenth place.

What’s possibly more alarming is that some Baltimoreans may not even know they have bed bugs since not everyone reacts to their bites, according to Ron Harrison, an entomologist who works for the company. “That’s why it’s important for people everywhere to inspect for bed bugs regularly,” he said.

If you’d like to perform such an inspection, look under the seams of mattresses and behind base- and head-boards, electrical outlets and picture frames. Or, you can do what Orkin is likely hoping for and ask them to send someone to come inspect your house or apartment.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...