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Bed Bug Statistics

Bedrooms are often an oasis of rest. However, an infestation of creeping, crawling, and biting bed bugs can turn your refuge into a battle zone. 

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that hide in mattresses, furniture, floors, and walls and feed on human and animal blood.1 Bites from bed bugs, usually cause red, swollen areas that may itch, but some people may not notice the bite until several days later These wingless bugs are about the same size as an apple seed with a reddish-brown body. 

These skilled and sneaky hitchhikers often catch a ride on luggage, purses, and clothing before setting up stakes in your house. They are attracted to places that are dark and where humans (or animals) spend a lot of time — making beds a perfect stowaway spot.

Fast Facts

  • 20 percent of households get a bed bug infestation each year.2 
  • The average cost for bed bug treatment is about $1,750, but it can be as much as $5,000, depending on the size of the space.3
  • Bed bugs often catch a ride on used furniture, children’s school backpacks, and luggage after a hotel stay.4
  • Bed bug infestations can lead to a secondary infection from itchy bites, but this is not common. Most people do not require medical treatment.5
  • Some studies show an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression, and stress in the aftermath of a bed bug infestation.6 
  • One study found that bed bug infestations are most common in single-family homes, apartments, and shelters in urban environments.7
  • Bed bug infestations are most prevalent during summer, accounting for approximately 50% of yearly exterminations.2

How Common Are Bed Bugs?

With one out of five American households experiencing a bed bug infestation, there is  a fair chance you will encounter them at some point in your life.2

  • As much as 20 percent of American households will have a bed bug infestation annually.2

Bed Bugs in the U.S.

You can find bed bugs just about everywhere in the United States, from small rural towns to booming metropolitan areas. However, there are some places where you’re more likely to run into them.

  • Chicago earned Orkin Pest Control’s top spot on their Top 50 Bed Bug Cities. It was followed by: New York and Philadelphia.10 
  • Ohio had the most cities on Orkin’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list, which included Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo.10
  • Nearly 30% of all bed bug infestations in the U.S. are located in the southeast region of the country.11
  • A harder-to-kill species known as tropical bed bugs were once only found in countries around the equator but have now been confirmed in Florida and Hawaii. These bed bugs are resistant to almost all insecticides.12

Bed Bugs in Hotels vs. Homes

Bed bugs are champion hide-and-seek players. They thrive where people congregate, which is why homes and hotels are two of their favorite spots. 

  • According to PestWorld, hotels and motels account for 68 percent of bed bug infestations, making them the third most common location for such incidents.13
  • Pack a small flashlight to help inspect the room when staying in a hotel, and check the entire room and the bed for any bed bugs.13
  • Bed bugs like to hide in the hollow legs of luggage racks and the fabric of upholstered benches and chairs. Avoid putting your suitcases on these surfaces.13

Although 80 percent of Americans are most concerned about encountering bed bugs in hotels, the two most common places they are found are in single-family homes and apartments/condos.14 

  • Single-family homes account for 91 percent of bed bug infestations, with apartments/condominiums following close behind at 89 percent.13
  • Bed bug incidents are three times higher in densely populated areas than they are in rural settings.14
  • Cleanliness has no correlation with bed bug infestations, but they are attracted to the coverage that clutter provides them.14
  • After hotels, Americans are most concerned with encountering bed bugs on public transit, in movie theaters, and in retail stores.14

What Influences Bed Bug Infestations?

Bed bug breakouts can occur in many places, but certain factors encourage the spread. 

  • Bed bugs are drawn to people.15 They frequent places such as hotels, college dorms, churches, health clubs, and subways because they have a lot of people in them.
  • These insects like to hide in mattresses, furniture, and even wall crevices, and their flat body shape makes this easier for them. Clutter provides bed bugs with more hiding spots and makes treating them more challenging.15
  • A bed bug infestation can last three or more weeks between the time it starts and when it ends through professional treatment.15

Temperature

Although bed bugs can be found in cool climates, they prefer warmer temperatures, and this is why there is often a surge of infestations in the spring and summer.16 

However, unlike summer bugs like mosquitos, flies, and gnats, bed bugs don’t disappear when the leaves change colors. Bed bugs can adapt to cooler temperatures, and Orkin states that wintertime bed bug infestations can occur. However, extreme heat and cold are also used to treat bed bugs.16

Travel and Tourism

The ability to travel is more accessible than ever, and this can help spread bed bugs around the globe. When it comes to encountering bed bugs, Americans are most worried about hotels. New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene states that although your chances of finding bed bugs in your hotel room are low, there are still precautions you can take to ensure you’re not sharing your room (and your skin) with them.17

  • Ask your hotel about their bed bug policy and plan.17
  • Inspect your room with a flashlight or your phone light.17
  • Pack in hard luggage or resealable plastic bags.17

Urbanization and Housing 

Bed bugs are three times more prevalent in urban areas than rural areas, likely because of larger populations and closer living quarters, which help them spread more quickly.18 

Bed bugs are attracted to people and hiding places, and apartments provide them with a plethora of both. Bed bug populations are also capable of doubling in size in a little over two weeks.18

Socioeconomic Factors

It’s thought that global connectivity and population growth are two reasons why we see more bed bugs now. Multi-unit dwellings are more likely to experience infestations than single-family homes, and low-income communities see more bed bug infestations than middle- and upper-income ones.19 

Lower-income families are also less likely to have the disposable income that is often needed in treating bed bug infestations.19

Impact of Bed Bug Infestations

Bed bug infestations can also cause health problems, and treating them can be a blow to your budget. 

Health Implications

  • Bites are the most commonly reported indication of an infestation, accounting for 92% of reports.13
  • Roughly 30 percent of people in homes infested with bed bugs report no visible bites or skin responses.20
  • Studies show that people who have been exposed to a bed bug infestation may be more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and stress.6

Economic Impact

  • The average cost for bed bug treatment is about $1,750 but can go up to $5,000, depending on the size of the space.3
  • People living in cities with a high amount of bed bug infestations may pay up to three times more than those in areas with less outbreaks.3
  • With some infestations, people may also have to account for missed wages if they have to stay home during the treatments. Some also may have to stay in hotels or have to replace furniture.3
  • On average, hotels spend $6,383 per bed bug incident.21

Social Impact

Bed bugs may also have an impact on your social life. In particular, bed bug treatment may have a bigger economic and social impact on lower-income families.22 This is because they may need the extra money for treatment and new furniture. As a result, this could impact opportunities for gatherings and outings with family and friends.

Those who live in multi-unit apartment buildings also may be concerned about being the source of the infestation and spreading bed bugs to their neighbors. 

Bed Bug Facts 

  • Bed bugs have three body segments, six legs, and an antennae.18
  • Female bed bugs lay anywhere from one to 12 eggs per day and can lay as many as 500 in their lifetime.23
  • Bed bugs can grow faster in hotter conditions. The time to reach adulthood is almost six times faster at a temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit vs. 65 degrees Fahrenheit. 23
  • Adult bed bugs can live up to six months without food. 23
  • About 80% of a bed bug infestation is hidden, with only hungry bugs venturing out of hiding places to find food.22
  • Bed bugs have a four to six-month lifespan.18
  • Aristotle wrote about bed bugs.18
  • Bed bugs give off a sweet odor.18
  • Bed bugs can’t fly.18
  • Bed bug hatchlings are small enough to fit through a stitch-hole in a mattress. 18

Summary 

 With their love of the dark, ninja-like hiding prowess, and proclivity for biting unsuspecting sleepers, it’s understandable why many have deemed bed bugs tiny monsters. 

These insects can leave itchy, red spots on your body that may make you more prone to a secondary infection. An infestation can also impact your mental health and wallet. Although no one is immune to them, it can be easier to combat them when you’re armed with facts and a plan.

Dealing with bed bugs? Here are 25 bed bug remedies to try.

Sosha Lewis

Sosha Lewis

Content Writer

About Author

Sosha Lewis is a staff writer for Sleep Advisor.  Lewis is happy that she is able to combine her love of sleep with her love of writing.

Combination Sleeper

Education & Credentials

  • Certified Sleep Science Coach

References:

  1. “About Bed Bugs”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last modified April 24, 2024.
  2. “Bed Bug Statistics [Key Findings]”. Bed Bug Lawyers. Webpage accessed July 3, 2024.
  3. “How Much Do Bedbug Exterminators Cost in 2022?”. HomeAdvisor powered by Angi. Last modified January 23, 2023.
  4. “Bed Bugs – What They Are and How to Control Them”. New York State Department of Health. Last modified May 2021.
  5. Gibb, T.J., Gondhhalekar, A., Gibb, T.S. “Will Bed Bugs Hurt Me?”. Purdue University. 2016.
  6. Sheele, Johnathan M. “Associations Between Bed Bugs and Mental Illness Among Emergency Department Patients”. Cureus. 2021.
  7. Hwang, Stephen W., et al. “Bed Bug Infestations in an Urban Environment”. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2005.
  8. Adrian, Benjamin., et al. “Tackling Bed Bugs: A Starter Guide for Local Government”. University of Washington. Last modified May 2016.
  9. Iglinski, Peter. “Scientists map genome of common bed bug”. University of Rochester. 2016.
  10. “Chicago Joins Paris in Global Bed Bug Spotlight, Ranking as the Worst City on Orkin’s U.S. Bed Bug Cities List”. Orkin. 2024.
  11. Chadnick, Lorne. “2024 Bed Bug Facts and Statistics”. AmCan Products. Last modified January 12, 2024.
  12. Doggett, Stephen L., Lee, Chow-Yang. “Historical and Contemporary Control Options Against Bed Bugs, Cimex spp”. Annual Review of Entomology. 2023.
  13. “Pest Control Professionals See Summer Spike in Bed Bug Calls”. Pest World. 2018.
  14. “Bed Bug Facts & Statistics”. Pest World. Webpage accessed July 1, 2024.
  15. “Bed Bug FAQs”. Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Webpage accessed July 1, 2024.
  16. “Can Bed Bugs Live in the Cold?”. Orkin. Webpage accessed July 1, 2024.
  17. “Simple Ways to Avoid Bed Bugs When You Travel”. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Webpage accessed July 1, 2024.
  18. “100 Facts About Bed Bugs: The freaky, fascinating pest that’s here to stay”. Orkin. Webpage accessed July 1, 2024. 
  19. Sutherland, Chris., Greenlee, Andrew J., Schneider, Daniel. “Socioeconomic drivers of urban pest prevalence”. People and Nature. 2020.
  20. “The Truth About Bed Bugs and Health”. Pest World. Webpage accessed July 1, 2024. 
  21. “Orkin Reveals Financial Impact of Bed Bug Infestations in Hotels”. Orkin. Webpage accessed July 1, 2024. 
  22. Jones, Susan C. “Magnitude and Spread of Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius) throughout Ohio (USA) Revealed by Surveys of Pest Management Industry”. Insects. 2021.
  23. Philip PhD, Benjamin N. “Bed Bugs”. Ohio State University. 2021.