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Report: NYC Tops List Of Bedbug-Infested Cities

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CBS 2/AP) -- New York City is no stranger to being #1, but residents might not be too proud of the latest list which the Big Apple finds itself at the top of.

The pest control company Terminix released Tuesday a list of the 15 most bedbug-infested cities,and while bloodsucking bedbugs are biting in Philadelphia and all over Ohio - Manhattan tops the lists of cities affected by the creepy crawlers.

Not that it should come as a surprise in light of recent events. Bed bugs have turned up at the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, the main library in Manhattan, the Time Warner Building - even the Empire State Building. The bugs have also been spotted in a SoHo Hollister store, an Abercrombie & Fitch at South Street Seaport, and an East Side Victoria's Secret. Most recently, the AMC Empire Movie Theater in Times Square reported an infestation of the critters.

The list was based on an analysis of call volume reporting bedbug infestations and of confirmed bedbug cases reported by sales professionals in 350 of the company's service centers.

New York City was followed up by Philly and Detroit. Ohio has four cities in the top 15 -- Cincinnati is fourth, Columbus is seventh, Dayton is eighth and Cleveland is 14th.

Bedbugs can be found in mattresses, furniture and clothing, and they feed off animal and human blood. Insect scientists say bedbugs are showing up on a scale not seen since before World War II, due to the rise in international travel and the elimination of certain chemicals once used to fight them. High-traffic areas such as hotels, airplanes and cruise ships are especially prone to infestations.

An outbreak of the quick-breeding bedbugs brought an early end to a 4-H science camp on the campus of North Carolina Wesleyan College earlier this month. And, in northern Kentucky, the Boone County Public Library brings in a dog four times a year to sniff out the pests.

In Ohio, the Department of Agriculture is seeking federal approval for its residents to use Propoxur, an industrial-strength pesticide, to attack bedbugs. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it's concerned about children being exposed to Propoxur, because EPA research has found their nervous systems could be harmed.

Terminix recommends that travelers check headboards and mattresses for bedbugs and the dark blood spots they leave behind. Baggage should be stored far from the bed and clothing should be hung rather than placed in hotel drawers or left lying on hotel furniture.

After a trip, people should vacuum suitcases and wash clothes in hot water.

The EPA, which held a summit on the critters in April, warns consumers not to treat the problem on their own or use strong outdoor pesticides to get rid of bedbugs.

Other cities rounding out the list are Chicago, fifth; Denver, sixth; Washington, ninth; Los Angeles, 10th; Boston, 11th; Indianapolis, 12th; Louisville, 13th; and Minneapolis, 15th.

"It's the bedbug problems in cities like Dayton and Louisville that prove bedbugs are back and can pop up anywhere," said Paul Curtis, an entomologist for Terminix. "The bedbug problems in these cities outpace markets of far greater size despite their having a fraction of the population and typically fewer travelers and hotels."

Terminix, and its parent, The ServiceMaster Company, are both based in Memphis.

(TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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