Columbus again has made a top-10 list that leaves some people scratching their heads and, unfortunately, other parts of their body.

Columbus again has made a top-10 list that leaves some people scratching their heads and, unfortunately, other parts of their body.

Pest-control company Orkin ranks Columbus at No. 5 on its list of the top 50 cities with the worst bedbug problems.

The list is based on the number of bedbug treatments Orkin performed in each metro area from Dec. 1, 2015, to Nov. 30, 2016.

Columbus finished behind Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York, respectively.

"These are all metro areas, which have hotels, apartments, public buildings and public transit -- which can make it easy for bedbugs to move from place to place," said Ron Harrison, entomologist for Atlanta-based Orkin.

"The more we use public transit -- whether it's planes, trains, taxis or buses -- the easier it is for bedbugs to spread," Harrison said.

"Bedbugs are often introduced through travel, and once that population exists, it's very easy for bedbugs to spread and reproduce in a city if they are not dealt with immediately."

Orkin has generated the list since 2014, and Columbus has been among the top most-infested cities.

For Randy Pendleton, owner of Discreet Bed Bug Removal and Pest Control in Grove City, the pests are good for business but not necessarily beneficial to central Ohio's reputation.

Part of the problem, as Pendleton sees it, is that pest-control companies are springing up across the region, but few are getting the job done correctly.

"That's part of the reason the problem is not getting better," Pendleton said.

And, he said, bedbugs are everywhere: hospitals and day care centers, million-dollar houses and one-room apartments.

Pendleton said he charges an average of $800 for a full treatment, which includes the entire house.

JoAnn Thomas said she experienced the frustration of bedbugs when her mother's house in Columbus' south Linden neighborhood became infested.

Thomas said she tried valiantly to fight them, trying to locate the bugs and then use steam on the furniture to eradicate them. The bugs would seem to be gone, only to reappear months later.

"It wears me out just thinking about it," she said.

She then called Discreet. They discarded four pieces of furniture in the process.

Discreet applied two applications -- one in August and another in September. The house, where Thomas now lives, has been bug-free ever since, she said.

"I don't mind spiders," she said. "I've lived on a farm and all that. That whole idea, if I'm asleep, I don't want to feel anything."

Pendleton said the spread of bedbugs really can't be prevented, short of people stripping down before they enter a house and washing and drying their clothes (as some medical professionals do).

At least bedbugs are not known to carry diseases transmissible to humans, said Jose Rodriguez, spokesman for Columbus Public Health.

"We don't want to minimize the impact of budbugs in our communities, but they are a nuisance much like other pests are," Rodriguez said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary