If I get through this story without scratching, it will be a miracle. I can merely THINK of certain insects, and I'll start itching. The mind is a fascinating thing.

And BED BUGS top the list. I have never seen one in person, and I thank my lucky stars for that. In fact, I almost didn't write that sentence for fear it might JINX me. Certainly, that isn't the kind of jinx I need in my life. In case you were wondering, here's what an infestation can look like. Brace yourself:

To be perfectly honest, I know that bed bugs are bad news, but I had no idea it could get THAT bad. That's horror-movie level, if you ask me. And right now, Paris FR is dealing with a city-wide infestation. Talk about horrors.

Kentucky Cities Join 48 Others on a National Bed Bug List -- a Dubious Distinction

Hopefully, the two Kentucky cities that find themselves on Orkin's list of the 50 cities with the biggest bed bug problems don't have situations like this to report, but Lexington and Louisville ARE on it.

So, how did Orkin come up with this list? Data, my friends. Treatment data gathered from metro areas where the most work was done to eradicate these vile little pests. Chicago has the dubious distinction of claiming a THREE-PEAT. Yes, the Windy City is number one for the third year in a row. And while you might think it's all really large metropolitan areas, cities like Champaign IL, Charleston WV, and Harrisburg PA also made the cut. Their populations are a fraction of the populations of New York City, Philadelphia, the aforementioned Chicago, and other huge metros on the Orkin list.

The way Orkin describes how these things operate sounds like, yes, a HORROR MOVIE:

Typically, bed bugs are 3/16 inch long, red to dark brown in color and are mostly nocturnal insects that come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping humans. These pests are hematophagous, which means blood is their only food source. They can travel from place to place with ease, clinging to items such as luggage, purses and other personal belongings.

So that's not very comforting, is it? And listen, I don't want you to think my tone indicates I don't take this seriously. I absolutely do. Bed bugs are a nightmare; I have a good friend who was once in the exterminating business, and we've had bed bug discussions. They're chilling.

Answering the Big Bed Bug Question "How Do I Get Rid of Them?"

HERE'S an exterminator showing us how to deal with a bed bug issue should one arise, heaven forbid:

As far as Lexington and Louisville are concerned, they ARE pretty low on the list--No. 46 and No. 49 respectively--and the 'Ville looks like it's making its way OFF the list.

Hopefully, you won't be encountering any bed bug problems anywhere, but Orkin--which also provides tips on how to protect yourself while traveling--is a pretty reliable resource. So is ANY exterminator, for that matter. In the new world of social media networking, I'm certain you're no more than three degrees of separation away from one.

LOOK: 20 of the biggest insects in the world

Stacker compiled a list of 20 of the biggest insects in the world using a variety of news, scientific, and other sources.

Gallery Credit: Andrea Vale

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