Can Bed Bugs Get In Your Hair & Live There?

  • Written By Dan Edwards on December 18, 2017
    Last Updated: December 17, 2020

Bed bugs haven’t been a big problem for most of the last 70 years because things like hygiene and pesticides have kept them at bay. Now that they’re back, not everybody is sure how to handle them, and most people have more than a few questions.

Whether bed bugs can live in your hair is one of the most common questions people ask. The short answer is no – they can’t live in your hair, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come ‘round for a good meal.

Ultimately, bed bugs don’t spread disease, lay eggs in your hair, or cause any real problems other than being gross and uncomfortable. So if you find you have them – keep calm, realize they can’t cause any physical harm to you, and proceed to investigate the best eradication methods for your own personal situation.

How Do Bed Bugs Get In Your Hair?

If you’ve had any experience with bed bugs, you’re probably aware they can go pretty much anywhere.

Bed bugs don’t just live in mattresses. They love buses, trains, and airplanes, too. Bed bugs enjoy chairs, sofas, and anything that looks comfortable.

Bed bugs love to travel, and your scalp is a particularly comfortable vehicle to travel on, although bed bugs will rarely stick around in your hair for too long before scuttling back to more obscure hiding places nearby.

Bed bugs get in your hair when you lay or sit on an already infested piece of furniture.

CC Image courtesy of louento.pix

Remember, bed bugs can’t fly (unless they’re on a plane). They only crawl at about one meter per minute, which means feeding time usually occurs at night when you’re sleeping or when you sit in one place for a long period of time.

Can Bed Bugs Live In Your Hair?

Bed bugs can crawl wherever they please, but whether they enjoy living in your hair is a different matter entirely.

Unlike lice or mites, bed bugs don’t have the body parts required to attach themselves to your scalp or hair. They’re more likely to sit there until they’re shaken or brushed out, or until they decide to leave on their own free will.

Do Bed Bugs Bite Dogs
Human hair isn’t the only worry. This is a bed bug crawling through dog hair

Plus, their legs have to be in a specific position before they can feed/bite you, and it’s a difficult position to achieve, even when there’s little to no hair in the area getting in the way.

However, bed bugs also dislike heat – and your body heat over a long period of time is too hot for them. So, unlike lice or ticks, they aren’t interested in treating your head like a bed and breakfast, they’re more likely to bite you and get out of there.

Will Bed Bugs Lay Eggs in Your Hair?

No, bed bugs will not lay eggs in your hair, ears, or on your skin. They will crawl around your body and bite you when they’re ready to come out to feed, but they will scurry away again once finished.

Bed bu​​​​​g e​​​​ggs aren’t safe on your body. Not only is your body too warm, but bed bugs prefer to lay eggs in cracks or crevices. Walls, furniture, and floorboards are better homes for eggs than your body is.

If you think eggs are being laid in your hair, you’re more likely to have lice than bed bugs.

Bed Bug Eggs
CC Image courtesy of AFPMB

What to Do If You Find a Bed Bug In Your Hair

Finding bed bugs in your hair may feel gross, but it’s not the end of the world.

First, keep in mind that you’re not likely to find bed bugs in your hair. Most people find that they’re bitten in the middle of the night and there’s no sign of the bug in the morning. All they tend to leave behind is an itchy bump at the site of the bite, and the odd blood splatter if you’ve rolled over one in your sleep.

The first thing to do is determine whether you’re looking at a bed bug, or if it’s something else entirely. Bed bugs are commonly mistaken with lice, ticks, mites and carpet beetles. All of these will cause skin irritation, but there are distinct differences.

Lice will live and lay eggs in your hair causing irritation.

Ticks will live on your scalp and burrow in to feed, making them difficult to remove. You’ll be able to feel them on your scalp.

Mites have bites that appear similar to bed bugs, but mites burrow right into your skin to feed, and remain there for some time.

Carpet beetles don’t bite, but their larvae may irritate your skin; they’ll also scurry off before you have a chance to check them out.

If you have lice or hair mites, you’ll require a treatment, such as a special shampoo, which will help to eradicate the lice, along with a fine-toothed comb to ensure the careful removal of their eggs.

If you do have bed bugs, you’ll be able to get rid of them by taking a shower and washing your hair. They won’t love the water, or the heat, or the shampoo, and that alone will get rid of the ones presently on your body.

Remember, they don’t have any special latching-on tools like lice do, so don’t worry about them clinging onto your hair while trying to remove them.

Lice shampoo is also effective if you know you have bed bugs, as are nit combs. Bed bugs and lice are from the same family and will both respond well to this treatment.

Nit combs are used for removing lice and lice eggs, but they also work well for removing bed bugs. Just make sure to rinse the comb in the sink straight after use to prevent bed bugs from falling out of your hair and onto the floor.

Continue washing your hair regularly until the bugs are gone. Using lice shampoo? Wash your hair with it every two days until the pests have left you in peace.

Getting rid of bed bugs also requires getting rid of the infestation. If there are bed bugs in your home, there’s always the possibility of them making a trip into your hair.

You’ll need to wash:

  • Clothes
  • Linens (bedding, towels, etc.)
  • Bags (backpacks or shoulder bags)
  • Mattress covers
  • Any fabric in the area of the infestation

You’ll also want to clean your floors (especially carpets) and any areas where they may be living. Be careful not to leave your towels or clothes on the floor where the bed bugs can reach them during and after this process.

Steaming can be a great way of killing bed bugs and eggs that are hiding in cracks and crevices, or around mattress seams and between deep carpet fibers.

If you’re looking for a powerful and reliable steamer for use against infestations and at a good price, the PureClean XL Rolling Steam Cleaner is a great choice. It’s heavy-duty, made to last, and produces a great covering of extremely hot pressurized steam – exactly what you want in order to kill insects and their eggs on impact.

This steamer can be used on a wide number of surfaces and objects, including mattresses, carpets, curtains, clothing, box springs, bedding and baseboards.

Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs
Steaming is a great way to kill bed bugs and eggs in hard to reach areas of fabrics and flooring

Are There Any Ways to Stop Bed Bugs from Getting Into Your Hair?

In short, no – there is no way to completely prevent bed bugs from getting into your hair.

If there are bed bugs in your home or in an area where you’re spending time (on a plane, in a hotel, etc.) then it’s difficult to avoid them.

There are things you can do to prevent them from traveling with you and infesting your home, however.

Regular hotel guests might choose to bring their own pillowcases with them when they travel, especially when traveling to known bed bug hot-spots. Leaving your luggage on the luggage rack – not the floor – is another smart choice.

As with most bed bug questions, the answer is nearly always to treat the source of the infestation, either by yourself or with help from a pest control company. This is the only way to prevent being bitten and crawled over.

My Favorite Bed Bug Treatment Products

While getting rid of bed bugs without buying any additional products can be done with very small infestations, I believe that by purchasing just a few additional products, you’ll be so much better equipped, and will be able to stamp out an infestation before it gets worse. Below is my list of essential products.

Bed Bug Killer by Bed Bug Patrol - 100% Kill Rate - Child & Pet Friendly - Natural Bed Bug Treatment Spray - Non-Toxic - University Tested - for Home, Office, Vehicles, Mattresses & Furniture - 24 oz

Bed Bug Killer by Bed Bug Patrol - 100% Kill Rate - Child & Pet Friendly - Natural Bed Bug Treatment Spray - Non-Toxic - University Tested - for Home, Office, Vehicles, Mattresses & Furniture - 24 oz

Bed Bug Patrol Bed Bug Killer – One of the best bed bug sprays that I’ve yet to personally use. Not only does it have a reported 100% kill rate against live bed bugs in controlled tests, but it’s also child and pet friendly. This product can be used against both light and heavy infestations, and most importantly, it’s laboratory tested and completely chemical-free.

Studies conducted using the treatment showed an impressive kill rate of 83% within just 30 minutes after application, and 98% within the first four hours, leading on to an eventual mortality rate of 100% over time.

Queen (13-16 in. Deep) SureGuard Mattress Encasement - 100% Waterproof, Bed Bug Proof, Hypoallergenic - Premium Zippered Six-Sided Cover

Queen (13-16 in. Deep) SureGuard Mattress Encasement - 100% Waterproof, Bed Bug Proof, Hypoallergenic - Premium Zippered Six-Sided Cover

SureGuard Mattress Encasement – It’s thick, durable, and is certain to help stop bed bugs of all sizes from getting to, or from, your mattress.

The protector prevents bed bug transportation by using SureSeal technology, and by using an extremely fine zipper that not even bed bug nymphs can impregnate.

ECOPEST Bed Bug Interceptors – 8 Pack | Bed Bug Blocker (Pro) Interceptor Traps (Black) | Insect Trap, Monitor, and Detector for Bed Legs

ECOPEST Bed Bug Interceptors – 8 Pack | Bed Bug Blocker (Pro) Interceptor Traps (Black) | Insect Trap, Monitor, and Detector for Bed Legs

In my experience, the best and most effective bed bug traps are usually the ones that are designed to work in the simplest of ways. I’ve used the Bed Bug Blocker Interceptor Traps extensively and I find they do the job better than any other trap I’ve tried. You also get a very generous 8 interceptors per pack.

Simply place them directly underneath the bed/table/chair legs you’re trying to protect, and watch the bed bugs fall into the traps time and time again with no chance of escape.

ZappBug The Oven 2 XL Large Bed Bug Heater | Real Reviews | Time-Tested | Excellent Customer Service

ZappBug The Oven 2 XL Large Bed Bug Heater | Real Reviews | Time-Tested | Excellent Customer Service

ZapBugg Bed Bug Heater – Specially designed to kill all stages in the bed bug life cycle, including eggs, without the need to purchase expensive pest control heat treatment solutions.

Simply place infested items into the ZappBug heater and it will automatically reach the all-important bed bug killing temperature, so you can be sure the items will come out free from all life stages of bed bug once the process is complete.

Large and small versions are also available.