LIMA — Lima is the hometown of comedian Phyllis Diller, Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist William Fowler, and according to a new survey, it is one of the “buggiest” cities in the United States.
A report by Thumbtack, an online marketplace that connects homeowners with local services such as pest control, rated Lima as the eighth buggiest city in the U.S. The company ranked 159 major cities based on requests for pest-removal services relative to population. Categories included in the measure for pest-removal requests were pest-control services, bed bug extermination, outdoor pesticide application and termite inspection.
This data may not represent all of Lima’s homeowners, however. A representative from Thumbtack said they compile data only from people who use the website to find pest-removal providers, and they do not take into account those who use different search engines.
Lucas Puente, an economic analyst at Thumbtack, said the overwhelming majority of pest-related requests from Lima residents were for bed bug extermination. Pest control services were a distant second, with requests in that category seeking extermination of bugs ranging from fleas to cockroaches.
“The number of requests for bed bug extermination were far higher in Lima than in other cities of its size and far above the per capita average in the U.S.,” Puente said. “This suggests that bed bugs are more a nuisance in Lima than in otherwise similar cities.”
Puente said it is also possible, if unlikely, that residents in Lima are more proactive about dealing with bed bugs, hence the city’s high rate of extermination requests.
Bill Kelly, director of the Allen County Public Health environmental division, said the vast majority of their insect-related calls are regarding bed bugs.
“I’ve been here 30-plus years, and we never had calls about bed bugs until probably about 10 years ago,” Kelly said. “They’re making a resurgence here in the U.S., and when I talk to my colleagues across the state, everybody kind of has the same story.”
Kelly said the health department does not keep track of the amount of calls related to bed bugs because they do not transmit disease, and therefore are not considered a public health risk.
Despite an increasing amount of concern surrounding bed bugs in Lima, Kelly said he does not believe the city has more of a problem than other large metropolitan areas in the U.S.
“There’s issues everywhere with pests, especially bed bugs,” he said. “Big cities are having some major problems and we are not immune.”
Other Ohio cities included in Thumbtack’s pest ranking included Cleveland (14th), Columbus (61st) and Toledo (88th). Phoenix was ranked the buggiest city, followed by San Antonio and Kansas City, Mo.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima.