The bad news for people who live in the Dayton metro area is the city still remains in the Top 50 of the most bed-bug infested cities in the country.

The good news is the Gem City is slowly moving out of the Top 50 of Orkin’s annual list of metro areas ranked based on the number of new bed bug treatments the national company performed. Dayton ranked 49th in 2019, compared to 45th the previous year.

“While bed bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat to households,” said Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist. “They are excellent hitchhikers, and they reproduce quickly which make it nearly impossible to prevent bed bugs. Sanitation has nothing to do with where you’ll find them.”

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Dayton is well below other large metro cities in Ohio. Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland rank in the Top 11 on the list. Washington, D.C. leads the list of bed-bug infested metro areas.

Bed bugs, which are typically 4-5 mm in length and red to dark brown in color, can travel from place to place with ease, including luggage, purses and other belongings. Normally nocturnal, bed bugs will come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping or quietly resting humans.

Bed bugs are known for rapid population growth. Females can deposit one to five eggs a day and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in their lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live for more than 300 days, often making treatment challenging.

“The key to preventing a bed bug infestation is early detection,” Hartzer said. “When one or more bed bugs enter a space, we call it an introduction. During an introduction, bed bugs probably haven’t started reproducing yet, but they could soon. Vigilance is key to stopping bed bugs before infestation levels.”

Tell-tale signs of a bed bug introduction could include small black spots indicating bed bug feces or nymph bed bugs in places such as mattress seams, bed frames and furniture. Their small size and ability to hide make them difficult to see during the day, so it’s important to look for the black, ink-like stains they can leave behind.