Bed Bugs in Hair: Symptoms, Treatment, Pictures, Eggs & More

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Having a bed bug infestation in your house is terrible enough. But when they get to your hair, it becomes embarrassing. That’s not something anyone looks forward to.

But can bed bugs live in your hair?

Here is the truth; it’s rare, but it’s not impossible.

If you think you are feeling something crawling around in your hair, they could be or they could not be bed bugs. Don’t worry, you will learn everything you need to know in this guide.

But first, let’s make something clear.

Like we already mentioned, bed bugs will rarely infest your hair. So most of the time when people think they have bed bugs in their hair, it turns out to be something else. Most likely, it will be lice, fleas or some other bug.

That is why it is important that we first understand what exactly a bed bug is; how it looks and where it lives. So before you go bananas because something is crawling around in your hair, we highly recommend that you read the next part.

What Exactly is a Bed Bug?

Don’t feel insulted if you know your bug well. You will be surprised by how many people have no idea what it is or think they do.

Bed bugs are known in the scientific world as Cimex lectularius. They are small, brown and mostly live where humans live. When they are not trying to feed off human blood, they hide in folds, crevices, and cracks. Basically, all the areas impossible to notice.

Bed bugs generally go through three life stages. So if you want to understand their lifestyle and physiology, it is necessary that you understand the three stages, more importantly, the physical appearance in each stage.

Here is the breakdown:

Eggs

Color – White

Size – Very small. Imagine a pinhead

You might see an eyespot in eggs more than 5 years old

Nymphs

Color – Whitish-yellow or translucent

Generally difficult to spot since they are small in size. It’s easier to see them if they recently had a blood meal

Adults

Color – Depends on whether they recently fed or not. If they just had a blood-meal they will be reddish-brown and brown if they haven’t.

Size – Small, about the size of an apple seed

Appearance – Elongated, balloon-like if they just fed and flat oval-shaped if they haven’t

Odor – Musty-sweet

Here are a few additional ways to rule out bed bugs in your hair

4 Ways to tell if the pest in your hair is not a bed bug

It has wings

Bed bugs don’t have wings and hence can’t fly. If the intruder in your hair has wings, it’s not a bed bug.

Its bright-colored or has different spots and stripes

Bed bugs only have one solid color and not stripped.

It has eight legs

Bed bugs have six legs, not eight. They also don’t have special hooks to help them cling to human hair like lice and fleas.

It has a stinger

Bed bugs don’t have any visible stingers or fangs

Don’t worry if these descriptions still don’t paint a clear picture in your head. Later on, we are going to share some images to give you a succinct idea of how bed bugs look.

But first, the most important question…

Can Bed Bugs Get In Your Hair?

Here is something you need to know; bed bugs hate to be in human hair. But sometimes they do.

You see, bed bugs are often insecure around humans. They know that there’s no love lost between them and you. That’s why they have perfected the art of hiding and only strike when you are asleep.

So clearly, hanging around in your hair is a bad idea for them.

Another thing is, unlike ticks and lice, bed bugs are not cut out to crawl around in ‘bushy’ spaces like inside your hair. Scientific America reports that bed bugs don’t have hooks to help them hang onto your hair.

In fact, the hair will only get in the way of their feeding. That is why they love feeding on bare skin without any interruption. Additionally, their bodies are not designed to glide through hair.

The bottom line is that bed bugs consider your body a source of food, and not a home.

But this does not mean that they cannot be found in your hair. They do on rare occasions.

We have prepared this guide to help you learn how to identify bed bugs in your hair and the smartest ways to instantly remove them.

The first thing you probably want to know is how to know if you have bed bugs in your hair. So let’s start with that.

Symptoms of Bed Bugs in Hair

The first sign of bed bug infestation in your hair is of course when you feel something crawling around. But again that can be anything. So you don’t need to worry until you’re positive that it is a bed bug.

You probably won’t feel it when bed bugs bite you. This is because they inject your scalp with some kind of an anesthetic before biting. However, there are other ways to tell if bed bugs have been messing around in your hair.

Fortunately for you, bed bug bites are very different from those of other insects.

Usually, they manifest as small bumps and sometimes itchy welts. This is after a few minutes of biting you. The bites are irritating and turn dark after some time. But perhaps the most obvious distinction of bed bug bites is that they appear in straight rows in your scalp. Other pests such as lice will bite you randomly and not in a row.

Bloodstains on your pillow is also a strong indication that bed bugs were feeding on your scalp.

Also, if the bed bugs are many, your hair will have a musty odor.

There is the issue of whether bed bugs can cause hair loss or not. Unfortunately, hair loss cannot pass as a symptom of bed bug infestation in your hair. There is just not a clear connection between bed bug bites and hair loss.

The last and perhaps the strongest symptom of bed bugs in your hair is the presence of eggs. Most people do not, however, see them because they are very small and often mistake them for dandruff. The fact that they stick to the roots of your hair makes them even harder to remove.

Okay, you have gone through the symptoms and you are sure you have bed bugs in your hair. How do you remove them?

It’s not easy. But luckily for you, this next section covers some of the smartest ways to treat bed bugs in your hair.

Read on.

How to Treat Bed Bugs in Hair

Bad news, you have bed bugs in your hair.

Good news, we are going to show you how to remove them once and for all.

But this is a big problem and the best way to solve a problem is to tackle it from the ground up. So, before we cover how to remove bed bugs from your hair, let’s first deal with the root of the problem.

Your house.

Yes, that is where the bugs mostly reside. And as long as they are still in your house, it won’t matter how many times you remove them from your hair; they will always get back.

Here are some of the quickest ways to remove bed bugs from your house.

How to treat bed bugs in your house

  • If you have cluttered clothes, take them out and check for bed bugs
  • Vacuum the floors frequently
  • Wash your beddings regularly using hot water
  • Use a dryer to kill the bed bugs instantly
  • Use mattress encasements
  • Discard items with an excessive infestation
  • Invest in a professional bed bug heat treatment to take care of the problem once and for all

And now, the part you have been waiting for; how to remove bed bugs from your hair. Please note that DIY bed bug treatment methods take time and you will need to be patient to eliminate them.

Also, some of the methods suggested below may be unpleasant, but are necessary to do away with the bugs.

10 Smart ways to quickly remove bed bugs from your hair

  1.      Wash your hair using hot water and shampoo. After that, comb to remove dead bed bugs. You might want to consider talking with a medical professional who can recommend a good shampoo for this job.
  1.      Use a mixture of alcohol and shampoo to wash your hair. 91% of Isopropyl Alcohol is recommended. Alcohol has been shown to kill bed bugs if used repeatedly. Just smear the mixture into your scalp with a keen focus on hair roots. Repeat every day for about a week for maximum effectiveness. This may dry out your hair, but only for a short time. Note that this is laboratory alcohol and not liquor.

3.  Go in a sauna with temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit, then later wash your hair with soap and  shampoo. This temperature is high enough to kill any bed bugs in your hair. However, if you don’t have access to a sauna, you can improvise or use a home machine that can achieve the same temperatures. Be careful not to burn yourself.

  1.      Got a beard? You should consider trimming it or wash the same way you do your hair. But make sure to use a shampoo that is recommended for beards instead of the regular shampoo.
  1.      Use essential oils. Although they may not effectively kill bed bugs, essential oils will help keep them at bay. Safe essential oils to use for bed bug treatment include cedarwood, eucalyptus, clove, cinnamon, and peppermint.
  1.      Apply a small amount of baking soda to your hair, focusing on the scalp. They will absorb moisture from the bed bug’s body and dehydrate them. Wash your hair afterward.
  1.      Apply a solution of the sweet flag to your hair. They have anti-microbial properties and their aroma will repel the bugs from your hair.
  1.      Using olive oil on your hair will also help
  1.      If you are using wigs, quickly replace them in case they are infested.
  1. Remove Manually. Bed bug eggs are hard to see, but adults are easily visible, especially after having a blood meal. Have someone to help you remove the bugs manually from your hair.

Bed Bug Eggs In Hair

Like we mentioned earlier, bed bugs are unlikely to live in your hair. If they ever end up in your hair, it is because they want to feed and not live there.

So, the chances that you will find bed bug eggs in your hair are dismal. You see, bed bugs prefer to live and lay eggs in cooler environments. Our bodies are not one of those environments. Also, bed bug eggs are not sticky enough to stick to your hair.

But it would be imprudent to rule out the fact that there may be bed bug eggs in your hair. So, just in case they are there, you should know what to look for.

Lucky for you, we have shared some pictures in the next section showing actual bed bugs and their eggs in human hair.

If it so happens that you have bed bug eggs in your hair, just follow the same methods for removing adult bugs. We already discussed 10 ways on how to do that above.

Pictures of Bed Bugs in Hair

Here are some real photos showing bed bugs in people’s hair. So if you have anything close to these, you need to start treatment as soon as possible.

Bed Bugs in Hair

 

Source: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5bI5smXuZbw/VP8Nq0IYEkI/AAAAAAAAAOk/rK41Dg-VEMo/s1600/Bug%2Bon%2Bhair.jpg

Bed Bugs in Hair

Source: https://pestseek.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/adult-male-partly-engorged_4604279324_o.jpg

Bed Bugs in Hair

Source: https://sf.ezoiccdn.com/ezoimgfmt/www.deadpestz.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/bed bugshair-300×204.jpg?ezimgfmt=rs:300×204/rscb2/ng:webp/ngcb2

Bed Bugs in Hair

Source: https://pestbugs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/get-rid-bed-bugs-hair-symptoms.jpg

Can Bed Bugs Crawl in Your Hair?

Bed bugs are not designed like other bugs such as lice and fleas. They have problems crawling in your hair.

To better understand this, you need to learn the physiology of a bed bug and specifically how their legs adapt to movement.

Adult bed bugs are flat in shape and oval after a blood meal. They don’t have wings so they move by crawling.

They have six legs that don’t have claws to help them cling onto the hair as lice do. So while they can move around, they find it hard with all the hair getting in the way. That is why your head is the last place they want to be.

Common Questions

1. Do bed bugs wash off in the shower?

Bed bugs are generally hydrophobic and it’s easy to scare them away with water. So, yes, they may wash off while you shower. But we recommend that you use shampoo or some of the other methods discussed above for a higher success rate.

Luckily, bed bugs are not strong enough to cling to your hair while you shower. If you wash your hair hard enough, you will be able to remove a good number if the infestation is huge.

However, you should not solely rely on bathing to keep bed bugs off your body. There are more effective ways. Hot water is particularly good, although you don’t want to reach temperatures that could burn your skin.

They are not good swimmers so they will drown pretty first. Therefore, 3 things will make it possible to wash off bed bugs while you shower:

  • Water temperature – the higher the better
  • Water movement – this will wash them away since they can’t cling to your hair
  • The fact that they easily drown and die

2. Can bed bugs cause hair loss?

There is not a direct connection between hair loss and bed bugs. However, some aftermaths of bed bug bites such as stress and itching could lead to subtle hair loss. Bed bug infestation in the hair may expose some people to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is one of the causes of hair loss.

How? Well, PTSD causes your health to deteriorate, which in turn deprives your hair of basic nutrients. As a result, the hair will not have consistent growth and may not be strong enough. This will make them begin falling off.

3. Can Bed Bugs bite your Scalp?

Yes. If bed bugs ever get in your hair, it’s because they want to feed and so they will bite your scalp. This is a little scary, but there is no cause to freak out. While the bites are itchy and uncomfortable, they are not lethal. In fact, bed bugs do not cause diseases.

But how do you deal with the itchiness?

The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends that you simply wash the bite spots with water and soap or a relevant shampoo. In case the bites are itchy – and they mostly are – you should apply some corticosteroid cream.

4. Can bed bugs lay eggs in your hair?

Unlikely. They prefer hidden places like cracks and crevices. Usually, they lay their eggs close to where you sleep so they can feed any time and quickly go back to their hiding places. As we have already mentioned many times, bed bugs come to your body to feed, not to live there. If they can’t live there, they can’t lay eggs.

5. Where do bed bugs hide during the day?

Bed bugs are good at hiding, but they don’t hide in complicated places. They are usually right under your nose. Remember that the only reason they are at your premises is to feed. So they will always be close.

But these pests are nocturnal. This means that they are only active at night and nowhere to be seen during the day. So, where do they run to when the sun rises?

Two things you should know:

  • Bed bugs don’t like traveling for long distances. They prefer living and hiding close enough to where their host is.
  • They don’t have wings – This means they don’t fly away like mosquitos after biting you. They simply crawl to their hiding places; again, close enough to where you sleep.

From the above, you can tell that bed bugs mostly hide close to where you sleep, live or rest. These places include:

  • On your furniture
  • Under the carpet
  • Behind the wallpaper
  • Seats in buses or cabs
  • Electrical outlets
  • Bed frames
  • Cracks in your door
  • Cracks in walls

6. What other small bugs live in human hair?

So we have seen that it is unlikely for bed bugs to find a home in your hair. But if it is not bed bugs that you feel crawling about and tickling your scalp, what else could it be?

Here are a few parasites that are commonly known to live in human hair:

  • Lice
  • Chigoes
  • Botflies
  • Chiggers
  • Mites
  • Fleas
  • Ticks

Conclusion

Having bed bugs in your hair can be very frustrating. It is uncommon, but it is not impossible. There are the itches and inflammations to think of, then there is the embarrassment and stigma to deal with. But you can avoid all this by taking the right bed bug control measures.

Start with your house and wipe out any bed bug infestation. Heat treatment is very effective in this case. Get professional help and let the problem be dealt with once and for all. Otherwise, if you keep focusing on the bugs in your hair without addressing the root of the problem, you will never be able to rid yourself of them.

If you find that you have bed bugs in your hair, there is no cause to freak out. We have covered some smart ways to remove them without putting your safety and health at risk. These include washing your hair with hot water and shampoo, using alcohol smears, spending some time in the sauna, using essential oils, brushing with a comb and much more.

Remember that bed bugs, although irritating, don’t cause any serious illness. Be calm and address the problem with an open mind. This way, you will be able to eliminate them and enjoy some peaceful night’s sleep.

Sources

http://www.cambridgepublichealth.org/publications/Cambridge-Bed-Bug-Booklet-2013.pdf

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/itchy-skin/bed bugs#treatment

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/top-10-myths-about-bed-bugs/

https://u.osu.edu/bed bugs/research-refs/behavior