Bedbugs are among the most common household pests. You can find them in varying degrees in almost all homes. Now, this might seem like a silly question, but can bedbugs live in your hair?
Despite what most people tend to believe, bedbugs typically do not live in human hair. These bugs would rather live in dark and secluded spaces. These places include between your cushions and cracks in your floors, among others. Bedbugs typically only come out of their hiding places at night when their hosts, that’s you, are sleeping.
Read on to learn more about bedbugs in the hair and how to keep them at bay.
Can Bedbugs Live in Your Hair?
Bedbugs Do Not Like Staying on Human Hair and Skin
Let’s get the apparent concern out of the way. Bedbugs do not like to hang out on human hair and skin. You might find one or two on your body. Note, though; they are just doing it so they can move from one place to another.
An example is when you get home from staying in a rather unkempt hotel room. If you constantly find bugs on you, those are most likely ticks, lice, or fleas and not bedbugs.
Bed Bugs Do Not Have Claws
It is improbable that you will find bedbugs in your hair. Like lice and ticks, other parasitic insects have claws on their legs. These claws allow them to cling onto and navigate through a person’s hair.
Bedbugs do not have such a feature. They need to set their front claws in such a way so that they can feed. This is already hard enough without clumps of hair in their way. This is the reason why you typically get bedbug bites on bare skin and not on your head.
Immediately Take a Hot Shower
If you find bugs crawling on your skin or hair, you need to take a hot shower immediately. Use soap and shampoo liberally.
Consult with a Dermatologist
If you still see bugs in your person, you should consult with your GP or a dermatologist. This way, you can get a prescription for medicated soaps and/or shampoos.
More on Bedbugs
Bedbugs Avoid Hairy Areas
Unlike lice, ticks, and fleas, bedbugs cannot cling onto human hair. Can bedbugs lay eggs in your hair? Technically, it is possible. However, even though bedbug eggs are sticky, it is still not enough for them to latch onto your hair securely. In addition, bedbugs typically avoid hairy areas like a person’s head, forearms, and lower leg.
A study done at Sheffield University observed that bedbugs would instead feed on subjects with shaved arms and legs. The long hairs deterred the insects because they slowed them down when searching for open skin.
It also acts as a warning signal for the host. Fine hairs have a lot of nerves attached to them, allowing them to detect even the slightest of movements.
Bedbugs Have Six Legs But Have No Claws
Moreover, bedbugs have six legs but have no claws that allow them to cling onto smooth hair as lice do. Meanwhile, other parasites, mites, and ticks have eight legs and the proper appendages to grab onto and maneuver through hair.
Bed Bug Migration
How do bedbugs migrate if they cannot live in a human person’s head? Typically, bedbugs would find shelter in between your clothes and/or luggage whenever you stay in a seedy motel room. When you get home, they will jump into your bed, and there, they will start to multiply. When you travel, you will be starting the whole cycle all over again.
Do Bed Bugs Cause Any Health Issues?
Bedbugs are not known to transmit any disease, not anything that serious anyway. Note, though, that they can still trigger the following – all of which are often just mild and minor:
1. Slight Blood Loss
A bedbug bite may not draw a significant amount of blood. However, if it often occurs over a long time, it would add up significantly.
Depending on the maturity of the bedbug, it may latch on and feed for 3 to 15 minutes. If enough bedbugs feed on you, it could lead to anemia and other health complications after some time. This case is more common in young children.
2. Allergic Reactions
According to medical professionals, 70% of people might have allergies to bedbug bites in varying degrees. Some may even get life-threatening reactions. Others also experience asthma attacks when exposed to bedbug droppings and castoff skins.
In addition, allergic reactions due to bedbug bites, specifically their saliva, typically trigger breakouts of hives or rashes. This may also lead to itching and burning sensations.
Bedbug bites can be extremely itchy. It will strongly urge you to scratch it for relief, which often occurs at night. Because people would scratch more relentlessly when they are asleep, they would often break the skin.
These small wounds might seem insignificant, but they are still susceptible to germs and bacterial infection. This is especially true if you do not immediately treat them. It may also further lead to serious scarring.
The same goes with if you wake up to find a bed bug in your hair, it is important to wash your hair immediately. As mentioned before, bedbugs won’t live in your hair, but they could appear there overnight. Just ensure to thoroughly wash your hair if you think a bedbug got in your hair at night.
4. Negative Emotional and Psychological Effects
In extreme cases, constant bedbug bites have mental effects on people. A considerable number even suffered from the following:
- Stress, and
Some are so stressed out that they have difficulty sleeping on a different bed without bedbugs.
Again, can bedbugs live in your hair? Bedbugs do not like to live in hair; they prefer to live in dark and isolated places, such as beds, cracks between furniture, walls, and floorboard. However, they go out at night to look for hosts.
How to Treat Bedbug Bites
Bedbug bites are rarely severe that they would require professional medical treatment. Often, you can treat them at home with supplies that you might already have.
Here are some helpful solutions:
1. Soap and Water
First, you should thoroughly wash the bitten area using soap and water. If the bite is not that serious, the cold water would be enough to reduce the swelling and itching.
2. OTC Medications
If washing the bite did not do the trick, you might need to resort to using some OTC medications. One example is a steroidal cream containing hydrocortisone or cortisone. These medications can help get rid of the itch and reduce the swelling.
Calamine lotion is also a big help. Just apply a bit of it if your skin breaks out in a rash due to the bite. This will dry out the rash quickly and relieve you from the itching.
For mild allergic reactions, an oral antihistamine or allergy medication can help. You can use them to lessen the swelling.
3. Topical Anesthetics
There might also be times when the bedbug bites are painful, significantly when they swelled up quite a lot. In this case, you will need to use some topical anesthetics, like those containing pramoxine. Also, take pain relievers that contain either ibuprofen or naproxen.
4. Antipruritic Agents
For infected bites and wounds, you can treat them by applying antipruritic agents. Pick the ones containing corticosteroids. If the infection is a bit serious, you can use mupirocin.
How to Get Rid of Bedbugs
Rather than treating bedbug bites or signs of bedbugs in your hair or on your body, wouldn’t you instead get rid of them for good?
Here are some ways you can ban these nasty parasites from your home:
Home Cleaning Methods
1. Kill Bedbugs Using Extreme Hot or Cold Water
Before settling on chemical warfare, find out if simple cleaning can remove them. You can quickly kill these insects using high (not even extreme) heat or cold.
2. Wash Infested Beddings in Hot for at Least 30 Minutes
Wash your infested beddings or clothes in hot water for at least 30 minutes. Throw them into the dryer on the highest heat setting. This should be enough to kill the bedbugs and wash them off your things.
3. Use a Steam Cleaner
After that, use a steam cleaner on your mattresses, couch cushions, and other places where they may hide. If you have no steam cleaner, you can just rent one for a day.
4. Put Infested Items Under the Sun
Also, you can pack up the infested items in large black garbage bags. Put them out in the sun during a hot summer day, somewhere in the range of 95 degrees up. If you don’t have a yard large enough or live in an apartment, put the bags in your car. Park it somewhere under the sun.
5. Leave the Bag of Infested Items in a Large Chest Freezer
Alternatively, you can also leave the bags in a large chest freezer if you have one. Leave them inside for at least a couple of days to ensure that you kill all the bedbugs.
After clearing your home of all visible bedbugs, make it inhospitable for their kind. That way, their friends will not replace them.
6. Put a Bedbug-proof Cover on the Bed
One effective method is to put a bedbug-proof cover on your bed. Cover the mattress and the box spring and zip them up wholly shut. This way, bedbugs can’t get into the bed, and any bugs trapped inside the covers will eventually die.
If these methods did not help eradicate the bugs, then you’d need to use insecticides, either non-chemical or chemical ones.
Chemical and Non-chemical Treatments
Pyrethrin is the most common chemical used in insecticides. Although these are quite effective and all-natural, some bedbugs are resistant.
2. Insecticides with Neonicotinoids
You can also try using insecticides containing neonicotinoids. This is a synthetic version of nicotine. The way they work is that they attack the bedbugs’ nervous system. If you are dealing with pyrethrin-resistant bugs, you can expect these products to work on them.
Desiccants are products that gradually dehydrate the bugs until they die. The most commonly used desiccants include diatomaceous earth and silica aerogel. The good thing about desiccants is that bedbugs cannot develop resistance to them.
However, they also have a bad side: they work very slowly. It will usually take a few months to kill all the bedbugs in your bed.
4. Foggers or Bug Bombs
There are also foggers or bug bombs. These products kill bedbugs on contact. However, they cannot get into the tight cracks and crevices where most bedbugs reside. In addition, you will need to vacate your home for at least a day. This should give the insecticide enough time to dissipate.
How to Prevent Bedbug Infestations
Prevention is always better than cure. To prevent bedbugs from invading your home in the first place, here are some things you can do.
1. Get Rid of All Clutter
Don’t leave piles of magazines, books, and other items on the floor. These are ideal places for bedbugs to hide and propagate.
2. Vacuum Beds Often
Use a mite vacuum if possible.
3. Change and Wash Linens
Change and wash linens every week or so, too.
4. Get a Tube of Clear Silicone Sealant
Proceed to seal any cracks or crevices in your walls, around light sockets, and wall outlet faceplates.
Conclusion – Can Bedbugs Live in Your Hair
Even though many people believe it, bedbugs typically avoid going into human hair. Bedbugs would rather stay inside dark and secluded spaces like in-between your mattress and box spring. You can also see them in the cracks in your bedroom floor and walls and other similar environments.
Also, bedbugs do not usually come out during the day. They prefer going out late at night when people are asleep. Although bedbugs do not pose a health risk, they can be a huge annoyance. So, do everything you can to get rid of them and prevent them from coming back.