When it comes to popularity contests, this is one you definitely don’t want to win. This year a new city won top honors for—yuck— bed bug infestations. Baltimore now holds the honor of most bed bug-ridden city in the U.S. Neighboring Washington D.C. ranks second, with various cities in Virginia also ranking in the infamous top 20.

Although they don’t pose a dangerous medical threat to humans, bed bugs are about as painful a pest as they come. And they’re a nightmare to get rid of once they’ve infested your home. Almost unheard of in the continental U.S. a mere 10 years ago, bed bugs are now a prevalent problem in many areas. And it’s on the rise—so far in 2017, reports of bed bugs are higher than usual.

So how do you protect your domain from bed bugs? First of all, make sure you’re vigilant whenever you travel. Put your luggage in the tub while you inspect the bed, box spring, bedframe, and any upholstered furniture. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests using a flashlight to spot signs of bed bugs, which are visible to the naked eye.

Evidence of bed bugs includes reddish, rust-colored stains on the mattress or on sheets from crushed bugs. Tiny dark spots may be bed bug excrement. You may also be able to spot minuscule eggs and eggshells and pale yellow skins that are shed as they grow larger. You can also find the tiny bugs themselves. Immediately report any evidence of bed bugs to hotel personnel and request a new room.

To kill bed bugs, wash all clothing in an extra hot washer and run them through two dryer cycles. Store empty luggage somewhere dry and hot if possible, such as a garage or hot attic. Bed bugs can’t survive in temperatures above 120 degrees.

Unfortunately, keeping your house clean isn’t much protection when it comes to these persistent invaders, so calling in the pros is recommended. Here at Green Pest Control we know exactly what we’re looking for and how to help eradicate the problem. If you suspect bed bugs—or any kind of bugs— have invaded your domain, call us today.