Can bed bugs live in my hair or on my body?



Answer:

This is a question that we run into fairly often. People find bugs crawling around their skin, or hiding in their hair, and they’re worried that they may be bed bugs. Obviously, they don’t want to spray their skin with insecticides (never a recommended option, by the way), so they come to us for support.


First, let’s get one important note out of the way: bed bugs don’t like to hang out on skin or in hair. They may hide on a person to move from one place to another (such as from a public area to your home), but they prefer to nest somewhere out of sight when they’re not feeding. If you frequently find bugs crawling on you throughout your day (especially if you’re away from your home), there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with fleas, ticks, or lice, rather than bed bugs.


Finding bed bugs in your hair is particularly unlikely. While lice and ticks have claws that are designed to help them navigate through hair, bed bugs don’t. Their front claws actually need to be set in a certain way before they begin feeding, which is hard enough to do without hair getting in the way. When bed bugs come to feed, they would much rather do so on bare skin.


If you do find bugs crawling around your skin or hair, take a hot shower with liberal use of soaps and shampoos. Wash your clothes, linens, and towels in hot water, and dry them on high heat settings when possible. Consult with your general practice doctor or a dermatologist as soon as possible for the best treatment suggestions. Depending on what type of bug it is, they may prescribe a special shampoo or lotion.


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