Can Bed Bugs Live In Your Hair?
Can Bed Bugs Get In Your Hair & Live There?
Bed bugs are small insects that live on a diet of blood.
They sound horrid, and they are – and that’s mainly all that most people understand about them - but there is much more to them than that.
Bed bugs haven’t been a big problem for most of the last 70 years because things like hygiene and pesticide have kept them at bay. Now that they’re back, not everyone is sure how to handle them and most people have more than a few questions.
Whether bed bugs can live in your hair or on your skin 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.
Here’s everything you need to know about bed bugs and your hair:
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.
It’s true – 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 (or the floor).
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.
Why are we hearing more about bed bugs now than before?
Bed bugs virtually disappeared after World War II despite them all but running for mayor of New York in the decades prior.
These pests disappeared for a few reasons. First, hygiene improved. The state of living conditions stopped lending itself to pests and with nowhere to go, bed bugs went underground and died out. Second, pesticide became prevalent after WWII, which helped destroy pests all over the place.
Bed bugs were gone for a while. But they weren’t forgotten. Over the past decade, these horrible little creatures have mounted a comeback across the globe. You might remember the major outbreak during the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Now, it’s considered to be the precursor of the misery that would soon plague the travel and hospitality industry.
Why are they back?
Densely populated urban areas still play a role in bed bug infestations. All kinds of pests and disease breeds when humans live in compact conditions.
These bugs are also resistant to pesticide, meaning what did not destroy them only made them stronger - although there are still plenty of chemicals still able to kill them.
Global travel doesn’t help; the ability to travel between continents for the price of a week’s worth of Starbucks drinks means more people are on the move and their little bug friends travel with them.
Bed bugs have been around for millions of years – they’re not going away anytime soon. More importantly, infestations are getting worse. So, it’s good to know how to deal with them to prevent them from forming armies and taking over your house.
Will Bed Bugs Stay/ 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 are shaken or brushed out or when they leave of their own free will.
Plus, their legs have to be in a specific position before they can feed (read: bite you), and it’s a difficult position to achieve even when there’s little to no hair in the area.
However, bed bugs also dislike heat – and your body heat 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.
No one is saying that being bitten by bed bugs is comfortable or fun. But, it’s unlikely you’re going to walk around looking like Pigpen from Peanuts unless your house and clothes are very, very dirty all the time and there’s a trail of bed bugs following you around.
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 bug eggs 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 bugs have been laying eggs in your hair, you’re more likely to have lice than bed bugs.
What to Do If You Find a Bed Bug In Your Hair
Finding bed bugs in your hair is 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.
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 under your skin.
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 similar treatment pattern that is different in that it often requires special shampoo and the careful removal of the 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.
Lice shampoo is also effective if you know you have bed bugs. Bed bugs and lice are from the same family and will both respond to this treatment.
You’ll also want to comb out your hair after you’ve washed it. Nit combs are used for removing lice and lice eggs, but they also work well for removing bed bugs. Make sure to rinse the comb in the sink when you’ve collected bed bugs to prevent them from falling out of your hair.
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:
- 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.
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 in 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.
Regular hotel guests might choose to bring their own pillowcases with them when they travel, especially when traveling to known bed bug hotspots. Leaving your luggage on the luggage rack - not the floor – is another smart choice.
But take heart, they may cause irritation but with regular showers and good hygiene, you won’t become a walking bed bug infestation.
As with most bed bug questions, the answer is nearly always to treat the source of infestation, either by yourself or with help from a pest control company.
My Favourite Bed Bug Treatment Products
My Favourite Bed Bug Treatment Products
EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer Spray - My favourite bed bug spray currently on the market. Not only is it able to kill every bed bug life cycle stage (including eggs), but it's also proven to give extended residual protection for up to two weeks in the area in which it was sprayed.
EcoRaider spray is used and highly regarded by many of the leading pest control companies country-wide, and is recommended by the USDS IR4 Public Health Pesticide Program for treating bed bugs in public living facilities.
SureGuard Mattress Encasement - It's thick, it's strong, it comes in many different sizes, and it will definitely help to 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.
Trapbedbugs Bed Bug Interceptors - In my experience, the best and most effective bed bug traps currently available. I've used these traps in many different scenarios, and find they do a job better than any other similar product I've worked with.
Simply place them directly underneath the bed/table/chair legs you're trying to protect, and watch the bed bugs fall into the trap time and time again with no chance of escape.
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 all-clear once the process is complete.
Bed bugs are little bugs who live in our homes and feed off our blood – they’re true parasites.
Good hygiene around the house will keep them at bay and if you find you have bed bugs then a hot shower and some lice shampoo take care of the problem.
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.