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L.A. in Top 5 Bed Bug Cities, Pest Control Company Says

Learn how to check for bed bugs when you travel and protect yourself against bringing them home.

Los Angeles climbed 20 spots to fifth in the nation in number of bed bug incidents treated by pest control company Orkin last year.

The company recently released a list of the top 50 cities based on the number of bed bug treatments it did in 2011.

The overall number of incidents climbed 33.6 percent over the previous year.

Cincinnati had the highest number of bed bug treatments, followed by Chicago, Detroit, Denver and Los Angeles.

The perennial hotspot New York City dropped two places to ninth.

The San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area was 12th, San Diego, 26th, and Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, 41st.

"The changes in some cities' rankings show bed bugs continue to be a problem in most areas of the U.S.," said Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison. "Several of the top 50 cities have large, busy airports, and there could be a correlation between increased travel and bed bug activity.

The rankings could also reflect an overall rise in population or greater public awareness of bed bugs and how to identify them, Harrison said.

Orkin advised travelers to remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to avoid bringing bed bugs home from a trip:

--Survey bed surfaces for small, rust-colored spots on bed sheets, mattress tags and seams and bed skirts;

--Lift and look for all bed bug hiding spots, including underneath the mattress, bed frame, headboard and furniture;

--Elevate luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed and wall;

--Examine luggage carefully while re-packing and when you return home, always remembering to keep luggage off the bed and store it in a closet or other area, far away from your bedroom; and

--Place all clothing from luggage immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from a trip.

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