Do Bed Bugs Get in Your Hair

Do Bed Bugs Get in Your Hair? The Horrifying Truth Revealed

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The thought of tiny bed bugs lurking in your hair, feeding on your scalp is the stuff of nightmares. As someone who has battled my fair share of bed bug infestations over the years, I know how horrifying yet fascinating these creepy crawlers can be. So can bed bugs actually take up residence and lay their eggs in human hair? I decided to find out once and for all if bed bugs can get in your hair.

When I felt that first itchy welt on my neck and discovered a bed bug hiding in the seams of my mattress, I went into full panic mode. Late at night I would shine a flashlight on my head, convinced I saw a tiny bed bug moving in my hair. Of course it always turned out to be shadows or dandruff flakes playing tricks on me, but it got me wondering – Do Bed Bugs Get in Your Hair?

I wasn’t finding clear answers online or from pest control experts about whether bed bugs can get in your hair, so I decided to pull back the sheets on the hairy truth myself. Read on for my full investigation into whether bed bugs can live, nest, feed, lay eggs, or complete their life cycle in those long locks growing out of our heads. You might be surprised by what these wily insects are and aren’t capable of!

Can Bed Bugs Infest Human Hair?

First things first – we need to understand what bed bugs require to successfully colonize a living space and reproduce. Based on their biology and behavior, human hair simply does not offer what bed bugs need in terms of warmth, shelter, safety, proximity to their food source, and more.

Although some people imagine bed bugs lurking deep inside hair follicles or hiding bundles of eggs along hair shafts, the physical structure and environment of human hair makes this highly unlikely. But before you breathe that sigh of relief – bed bugs can still invade your hair opportunistically. More on that soon!

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Do Bed Bugs Get in Your Hair? The Horrifying Truth Revealed. Image Credit: Canva

Bed Bug Capabilities and Adaptations

To understand why our hair doesn’t provide a prime residence, we need to look at what bed bugs require to thrive:


Bed bugs are cold-blooded and prefer temperatures between 70-80°F – the perfect comfort zone when snuggled into cozy furniture or bedding near their human hosts. But hair simply doesn’t provide the level of warmth and insulation bed bugs relish.

Shelter and Safety

With flat, pliable bodies that max out at 5mm in length, bed bugs squeeze themselves into the most protected nooks and crannies they can find. Wood, fabric and paper materials provide both physical safety and darkness.

By contrast, individual strands of hair waving about in the breeze offer them no protection from predators, light, or defensive humans looking to squash them!

Close Proximity to Food

Since human blood is the only thing on the bed bug menu, they need direct access to their slumbering hosts. This means bed bugs stick close to areas where people sleep or rest, like beds, couches and recliners.

Humans don’t spend much time reclining with their heads hanging upside down, so hair doesn’t offer great accessibility for regular feedings!

Ability to Reproduce

Perhaps most importantly, bed bugs need harborages that support egg-laying, hatching and nurturing baby bugs through 5 molting cycles – their version of insect development and maturation.

Human hair simply lacks the right physical traits and environment to promote successful reproduction. But other small parasites actually are specialized for life among hair fibers, as we’ll discuss later…

So while hair may seem like the perfect hiding spot in theory, the reality is that bed bugs rely on more traditional habitats like wood and fabric items to meet their biological imperatives.

Can Bed Bugs Still Invade Hair Opportunistically?

Now, the fact that hair isn’t the preferred habitat for bed bugs doesn’t rule out them temporarily invading your locks if needed. After all, bed bugs are nothing if not opportunistic.

At the end of the day, bed bugs are tiny vampires programmed to sniff out warm-blooded hosts and tap into blood wherever they can access it. If they detect the carbon dioxide, heat and scents emitted from your scalp, bed bugs can and will treat your hair like an all-night diner!

So while you probably won’t find hem hanging out breeding and raising families within your bouffant, bed bugs may still crawl onto the head seeking blood meals. Keep this in mind as you inspect and treat infestations!

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Do Bed Bugs Get in Your Hair? The Horrifying Truth Revealed. Image Credit: Canva

Where Do Bed Bugs Prefer to Hide and Nest?

If not hunkered down inside hair, where do these crafty insects set up shop inside your home? Bed bugs have a strong preference for snug harborages in wooden furniture, bed frames, floor moldings, picture frames and similar crevices.

During heavy infestations, bed bugs radiate out from human sleeping areas in search of new real estate. Often this leads them behind electrical switch plates, inside appliances, under peeling paint or wallpaper, and even sheltered spots outdoors like sheds and garages.

But regardless of how widely bed bugs scatter through a seriously infested home, you most likely won’t find them living directly on human bodies. Our hair and skin simply doesn’t offer hospitable habitats supporting entire bed bug lifecycles and reproduction.

That privilege is reserved for other organisms uniquely evolved to live as permanent parasites on people…

Bugs Actually Specialized to Live on Humans

While bed bugs may come crawling through your hair sporadically when food is scarce, they always beat feet back to protected nesting spots afterwards. But other parasitic bugs have evolved specifically to live, feed and reproduce in and on people full time:

Head Lice

These tiny tan insects have claw-like appendages perfectly adapted to grasp onto hair shafts and hold tight. Head lice cement their tiny nits (eggs) to hair follicles and drink blood straight from the scalp. They spend their entire 3-4 week adult lifespan right on that warm human head!

Scabies Mites

Microscopic mites burrow into the outer layer of human skin, laying eggs and crawling about setting off intense itching and rashes. A female can live 2 months on the body, laying eggs daily that hatch within 3-4 days.


Fleas have hind legs specialized for incredible jumping power, aiming to land right on a nearby mammal host. They bite ferociously and dwell in human and pet fur as adults, before dropping eggs that tumble into rugs and bedding below.

As you can see, these parasites have specially evolved tools and instincts for targeting humans as both food sources and living habitats generation after generation. Bed bugs just visiting for dinner simply can’t compare!

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Do Bed Bugs Get in Your Hair? The Horrifying Truth Revealed. Image Credit: Canva
ParasiteAppearanceBehavior & HabitsSymptoms
Bed BugsFlat, oval, wingless, reddish-brown, apple seed-sizedTemporary visitors that feed on scalp but don’t nest in hairItchy red welts, often in lines
Head LiceTan, wingless, size of sesame seedGrip hair shafts to remain on scalp; cement eggs to folliclesItchy scalp, visible nits stuck near base of hairs
Scabies MitesMicroscopic; female mite burrows under skinBurrow into top skin layer; lay 3-4 eggs dailyIntense itching & rash; worm-like tracks visible
FleasDark brown, laterally flattened, winglessJump onto hosts to feed then return to nesting sitesSmall red bumps, concentrated around ankles and legs
Signs of Bed Bugs vs Other Hair-Dwelling Parasites

Finding and Treating Bed Bugs in Hair

Hopefully by now I’ve convinced you that bed bugs living full time in human hair is highly unlikely. But how do you know if those occasional dinner guests are crawling through your hair? And what should you do if they are?

Carefully inspecting your scalp is an important part of monitoring bed bug infestations. Look along the hairline at the back of your neck and behind ears for signs of bites or clinging bed bugs. You may feel slight tickling sensations that send them scurrying if disturbed.

Use a magnifying glass and comb carefully through sections of hair right down at the scalp, revealing any bugs present. Look also for tiny white eggs deposited near follicles. Comb above a piece of paper to catch any bugs or eggs that dislodge.

If live bed bugs are found on your head, start by taking a hot shower and lathering up well with anti-dandruff shampoo containing tea tree oil. This can kill and flush away bed bugs from hair before they bite.

For more severe hair infestations by lice, mites or fleas, medicated shampoos or topical treatments are often prescribed to eradicate breeding parasites. As a last resort, shaving hair very short or completely may be required.

With bed bugs just visiting hair sporadically, prescription remedies are unlikely to be needed. But comprehensive treatment of infested living areas by a licensed pest control professional is still critical for elimination.

TreatmentMethod(s)Helps TreatConsiderations
Medicated ShampoosTea tree oil or pyrethrins-based shampoosLice, bed bugs, mitesUse 2-3 times spaced a week apart; leaves residue
Wet CombingLice comb to remove nits and bugsLiceDaily combing for 2+ weeks to catch hatchlings
Prescription TopicalsIvermectin, permethrin creamsScabies, liceApply over whole body, not just hair; repeat application
ShavingElectric or manual razor hair removalLice, scabies, mitesCan be distressing/extreme; regrowth can be itchy
Professional Pest ControlInsecticide spraying, heating, steamingBed bugs and hair parasitesExpensive but comprehensive; often require 2+ treatments
Treatment Options for Bugs in Hair
How to get rid of Bed Bugs

Preventing Bed Bugs from Infesting Hair

While occasional bed bug visitors in search of blood are nearly impossible to prevent completely, there are still steps you can take to dissuade them from invading your hair:

  • Carefully inspect any used hats, helmets, wigs, hair extensions, hair brushes or barrettes for signs of bed bugs before bringing them home. This includes religious head coverings, sports headgear, theatrical costumes and hair pieces. Look for live bugs, tiny dark spots indicating fecal matter, and egg casings.
  • Seal checked or purchased hair goods in plastic bags during travel to prevent bed bugs from infesting en route. Inspect and launder items immediately upon returning home before wearing.
  • Limit exposing wigs, hair attachments and accessories in rooms suspected to host bed bugs, such as bedrooms and private dressing rooms. Store hair goods sealed far from infested rooms if possible.
  • When staying overnight away from home, keep hair styling tools like brushes and combs isolated in plastic bags when not in use. Inspect them for bed bugs before using again.
  • Periodically wash combs and hair brushes in hot, soapy water to kill any stray bugs or eggs that drop off from an infested scalp. This keeps them from accumulating long term on your grooming tools.
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Do Bed Bugs Get in Your Hair? The Horrifying Truth Revealed. Image Credit: Canva

Do Bed Bugs Get in Your Hair? Conclusion

And there you have it – the unsettling lowdown on whether bed bugs can live and reproduce in human hair. While our locks don’t offer the ideal protected harborage these insects prefer, bed bugs may still choose to bunk down temporarily when few better options exist.

The most skin-crawling reality is that bed bugs will happily dine on blood from any exposed human tissue they can access – including taking late night snacks from your scalp! So although waking up with a bed bug family nesting inside your bouffant is very unlikely, keep vigilant for signs of bites or stray bugs wandering through your hair.

I hope this answered all your burning questions about whether bed bugs can inhabit hair – either as short-term tourists or full-time tenants. For more advice on treating infestations, preventing bed bug introductions, and sleeping tight through the night once again, contact a licensed pest professional today. They have cutting-edge tools and techniques for eradicating bed bugs at their source.

You deserve a good night’s rest without worrying what might be crawling through your hair! Get comprehensive bed bug elimination services and reclaim your peace of mind.

FAQ – Do Bed Bugs Get in Your Hair?

Do bed bugs lay eggs in human hair?

Can head lice come from bed bugs?

Do bed bugs poop in your hair?

Can bed bugs get tangled and trapped in curly hair?

Do bed bug eggs hatch inside wigs, extensions, hairpieces, etc?

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Do Bed Bugs Get in Your Hair? The Horrifying Truth Revealed. Image Credit: Canva
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