As it turns out, Washington, D.C., has a problem with parasitic creatures, and a lot of them are actually, in fact, insects.
According to rankings published Monday by pest control company Orkin, the nation's capital is the first in the United States for bedbugs. The district came in first on the company's annual "Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list" and beat nearby Baltimore, which had held the top spot for three consecutive years prior.
Rounding out the top five in order are Chicago, Los Angeles, and Columbus, Ohio. The rankings are based on treatment data, the release explains.
"While bed bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat to households," Orkin entomologist Chelle Hartzer said of the results in a statement. "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."
Hartzer went on to explain in the release that the key to combatting bedbugs is early detection.
"When one or more bed bugs enter a space, we call it an introduction," she said in the release. "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."
The release says to look for "the black, ink-like stains they can leave behind," since they can be hard to see in daylight.
The Environmental Protection Agency's website explains that while the parasitic pests typically feed on blood every 5 to 10 days, they can go for up to a year without a feeding. In order to protect your home and family from the insects, the agency offers several tips such as checking over secondhand furniture, reducing clutter, and being careful when using shared laundry facilities.