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Detroit — The Motor City probably isn't sleeping very tight because bedbugs continue to bite, a survey said Monday.

The Detroit area ranks seventh for the worst U.S. cities for bedbugs, according to Orkin, the Atlanta-based pest control company. The Metro area moved up one spot from its ranking in last year's survey.

Flint saw the biggest jump in the survey and rose 16 spots to No. 31. It joined the list in 2018. Lansing moved up two spots in the study to No. 30.

Washington, D.C., claimed the top spot in the survey. It was No. 2 the previous year.

Its place on the list is based on the number of bedbug treatments the company performed from Dec. 1, 2018, through Nov. 30, 2019.

Oval-shaped and reddish-brown in color, the insects have flat bodies and don't get bigger than about a quarter-inch in length.

They have piercing, sucking mouthparts to feed on the blood of sleeping humans. Their saliva has agents that desensitize the skin around bites, which can turn into itchy welts.

Orkin said female bedbugs can lay 1-5 eggs a day and and up to 500 eggs in their lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live for more than 300 days.

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

Hartzer also said the key to preventing a bedbug infestation is early detection. 

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

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