Can Bed Bugs Live in Your Hair?

Short answer: Can bed bugs live in your hair? Many will sigh with relief when they learn that no, bed bugs do not live in your hair. They don’t live on humans or other mammals at all, in fact.

By Pest Advisor Editors (Updated on Apr 01, 2022)

Fact Checked by Jason Chapman

Can Bed Bugs Live in Your Hair? photo

The idea of having bed bugs might make you downright itchy, and for good reason. First, they’re squirmy and creepy, and the psychological reaction to having insects in your home or on your body might make you feel a bit squeamish. They also bite, and those bites can lead to quite a bit of itching. But when answering the question, “can bed bugs live in your hair?”, we have some reassuring news:

  • No, they don’t live in your hair.
  • They actually don’t live on your body at all.
  • They also won’t live on the bodies or in the fur of your cats and dogs.
  • Bed bugs like to live in dark crevices, such as under your mattress.
  • They do, however, feed on humans.

Keep reading to learn more about why bed bugs don’t live in your hair, where you’ll find them instead, and other considerations to keep in mind.

Do Bed Bugs Live in Your Hair?

No. Bed bugs don’t live on people; they don’t have “sticky” legs and aren’t able to grip onto hair well, so they won’t take up residence on your scalp. They usually live in small spaces that are dark and hard for a person to access. Examples might be in the seams of a mattress, behind a bed frame, or under couch cushions. They often live in homes, but they can also live in places like hotels and movie theaters. If there’s a hiding spot and one or more humans who spend a few hours in the general vicinity, bed bugs will find that place attractive.

While bed bugs don’t live in the hair, they can crawl across your hair as they seek out some exposed skin to bite. If you have thick hair, it’s unlikely that they’ll bite your scalp, as they don’t want to bother trying to dig through your hair to get to the blood vessels just under your skin. Instead, they’ll usually go to other areas of your body, like your neck, back, arms, or legs.

Can Bed Bugs Live on My Pet?

Bed bugs don’t live on pets for the same reason they don’t live on humans. They prefer hiding. They also are unlikely to bite your pet, especially if he has thick fur. If you have a pet with thin fur or no fur in some patches, that makes it more likely they’ll experience a bite. In addition, if the bed bugs don’t have a nice, tasty human to snack on, they might go take a bit of your pet’s blood, even if they have to forage through the fur to find their skin. Overall, though, your pet is at low risk of being bitten.

It should also be mentioned that, unlike ticks and mosquitos, bed bugs don’t carry parasites or diseases. So you don’t need to be concerned about your pet (or you!) picking up a virus or some other nasty germs from bed bugs, even if they do get bitten.

How Can Bed Bugs Go From One House to Another?

If bed bugs aren’t hanging out in your hair or on your body, how do they manage to travel so easily from home to home? They don’t jump or fly from person to person or from pet to pet. Instead, they usually hitch a ride on your clothing, in a suitcase, in a backpack or purse, or on some other fabric that you are toting along with you. 

If you stay in a hotel with bed bugs, for example, they can crawl into your luggage and make it into your home that way. In fact, the next time you check luggage, it’s possible that someone else is carting home these little buggers and that some of them might decide to move into your luggage while in the cargo hold!

Bed bugs can also travel through checked coats or from someone else’s furniture into your purse or even in the seam of your jeans. We know it’s not nice to think about, but that’s how they manage to get around so quickly.

How Can I Prevent Bed Bugs From Entering My Home?

Preventing bed bugs is much easier, more effective, and less stressful than trying to mitigate the situation once they’ve moved in and made themselves comfy in your comforter. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while out and about:

  • Don’t put your bags on the floor of hotel rooms. Also, avoid putting them on upholstered chairs and on the bed. Instead, choose a hard surface, like a counter or table. You can also use the luggage rack if there is one.
  • Pull back the sheets from hotel beds. Make sure you don’t see any bugs or debris that could indicate a current or recent infestation. If you bring your own pillows with you on vacation, buy inexpensive ones that you can leave behind.
  • Use mattress covers that encase the mattress. You can also put one on your box spring. This will prevent bugs from hiding in the seams of the mattress, and they’ll also make any insects easy to see right away.
  • Check second-hand furniture carefully for signs of an infestation. You might be able to pick up an upholstered chair for a steal at a thrift store, but it’s important to make sure you’re not getting some unwanted critters thrown in for free. Check under cushions and along the seams of furniture for live or dead bugs, pieces of their shell, or rust-colored spots that could be left by their feces.
  • Keep your home, particularly your bedroom, free from clutter. Minimizing potential hiding spaces can help you become aware of an infestation more quickly than if they’re allowed to breed and multiply unchecked. Vacuum regularly, paying special attention to the areas behind and around the bed, under the night tables, and between the mattress and box spring.

What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

The best way to rid your home of bed bugs is to call a professional exterminator. You can try to defeat them yourself by meticulously cleaning soft surfaces, washing laundry in hot water and drying on high, and vacuuming very frequently. If you want relatively quick results, though, it’s best to call in a local exterminator to solve the problem. They will use chemicals that are safe for you but not so safe for the bugs, and your treatment will usually include two visits. 

Bed bugs are uncomfortable to think about, and they can make you and your household members quite itchy due to their bites, but keep in mind that they’re not dangerous and they can be dealt with. Don’t panic; instead, contact a trusted exterminator and follow their instructions carefully to beat your bed bug problem in just a couple of weeks.

Citations and Credits

Featured image by Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay

Article image by Public Domain Pictures / Pixabay

Article image by Olichel / Pixabay

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