Can Bed Bugs Live In Your Hair? Explained with Examples

If you wonder, “can bed bugs live in your hair”? You are in the right place. Bed bugs do not usually live in hair. Although bed bugs may be able to crawl through the hair,  they can’t cling onto a piece of hair like lice or ticks. Learn more about the difference between bed bugs and lice here.

Research has found that bed bugs avoid crawling through hair.

Scientists were able to show in this study that hair on humans is used as a defense mechanism against bed bugs. Hair has the ability to alert us that something is crawling on our skin, which is why bed bugs have evolved to prefer to go after hairless skin.

If you still think you are finding bed bugs in your hair, the first step is to catch whatever you see and place it on some tape. The next step is to take a clear zoomed-in photo of the bug you found.

Using the camera on your phone should work just fine. However, you can use this microscope which works with your phone via Bluetooth, to get an even better photo. Below is a snapshot of some bed bug eggs that we took with this phone microscope.

Bed bug eggs under magnification

We use this microscope every day, and it is the exact one we bring to every pest inspection. After you get the photo, you can send it to us or email it to an entomologist for ID.

Wireless Digital Microscope Handheld USB HD Inspection Camera 50x-1000x Magnification with Stand Compatible with iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Android, Mac, Windows Computer
  • App Provided: Optional software for IOS, Android, Windows, MacOS X. This microscope can support Android 6.0+, iOS 9.0 or later, Windows vista/7/8/10/11 or later, MacOS X 11 or later.
  • Magnification & High Definition: 2 million pixels, 1080P HD picture quality for smartphone, 720P for computer, 50x more magnification can meet your daily needs. Built-in 8 Dimmable LEDs provide enough illuminance.
  • Easy to Carry, Rechargeable: When fully charged(about 3 hous), it can last for about 3 hours. It makes for a very useful and fun tool to always have with you in the outdoors. You can enjoy the portable mini pocket microscope on your nature hikes.
  • A Funny Tool: This electronic microscope is more of a fixed focus magnifying glass, not a traditional microscope, Not suitable for professional serious biologists! This is definitely a very interesting thing for parents, adults, teachers, students, children, collectors, testers, electronics' repair folks, and inquisitive folks who are interested in exploring skin hair scalp trichomes and the microscopic world.
  • Not only a Microscope: More than a microscope, it is a camera, It can not only zoom in but also take photos and record videos. The ability to take video and still photos is amazing. It’s really useful when documenting plant phases throughout their lifecycle.

If you feel something moving in your hair during the night, it could be a bed bug crawling across your head. However, even if they crawl across your hair, they will not form a harborage in your hair. More often than not, they will not choose to crawl across the surface of your hair.

Despite the bed bugs not living in your hair, you still may wonder if bed bugs can accidentally get in your hair as they are walking around. To note, bed bugs can crawl across your hair when looking for a blood meal, but it is not likely.

Bed Bug Behavior – Symptoms Of Bed Bugs In Your Hair

Bed bugs instinctually hide in cracks and crevices and do not likely choose to hang out in your hair. Additionally, bed bugs do not like the light since they are nocturnal creatures, so the hair is not an ideal home for a bed bug. Not only that, but bed bugs also don’t stay on your body.

Bed bugs like to rest during the day undisturbed, so the human head of hair is not an ideal hang-out spot for a bed bug to nap during the day.

More importantly, a bed bug is not the type of parasite that lives on us. Instead, they live near us. Bed bugs are obligate blood-sucking parasites that feed on blood and then return to their harborage.

A bed bug is attracted to its harborage through pheromones, and they are drawn to hang out near their bed bug poop.

There are no symptoms of bed bugs in hair since bed bugs do not live on humans.

Bed Bug Eggs In Hair – Is It Possible?

Can bed bugs lay eggs in your hair? The short answer is no; bed bugs do not lay eggs in your hair. However, lice do lay eggs in your hair, so if you see tiny white dots in your hair, it’s probably the eggs of a head louse. Head lice eggs/nits are 0.8 mm by 0.3 mm, whereas bed bug eggs are 1 mm.

Bed bug’s eggs are oval and sticky, and a bed bug likes to place them in a dark crack or crevice. Doing this provides the bed bug eggs with protection, while they are waiting to hatch.

More importantly, bed bugs prefer to lay their eggs near places where humans sleep. Primarily so the baby bed bugs can have easy access to a blood meal right after they hatch.

Bed Bug Anatomy

What is unique about the bed bug anatomy that makes it unlikely for them to live in your hair?

Bed bugs have 6 legs but do not have gripping mechanisms on their feet. Therefore they are not able to grab onto a piece of hair like a louse. Bed bugs do not jump either!

There was a study done at Sheffield University by Isabelle Dean and Michael T. Siva-Jothy on the ability of people to feel a bed bug crawling on them through hair versus smooth skin.

The more hair the  volunteers in the study had, the more they were able to feel and detect the bed bugs crawling on them. The bed bugs are adapted to be drawn to hairless parts of your body, scientists think this is because they can often feed unnoticed.

Bed Bug Migration – Where Do They Hide?

Bed bugs stay close to their blood meal. They are not looking to migrate and leave an area where they are getting a sufficient meal. An aggregation of pheromones is what attracts bed bugs to their hiding places.

Bed bug harborage on a wooden bed frame

Learn how to find bed bugs during the day using our tips.

Bed bugs cluster in what we call a harborage.  In a bed bug harborage, you will find bed bug droppings, eggs, nymphs, and adults. Additionally, bed bugs move around in search of a blood meal;  our CO2, sweat, and other stimuli attract them.

Sometimes we can cause bed bugs to migrate to another room or even another apartment by spraying DIY treatments that are not strong enough to kill them. More importantly, a bottle of bed bug spray that you buy at the local hardware store is not vital to kill all bed bugs, but it will make them scatter.

Do Bed Bugs Live In Your Ear?

Bed bugs can live in various places; more than likely, an ear is not one of them.  However, if a bed bug accidentally crawled into your ear, your cilia would take care of it and evict the bug.

A bed bug’s instincts predict where they go after feeding. A bed bug is naturally drawn to walk back to its harborage area after feeding. There are things within the bed bug harborage like pheromones and fecal matter which attract a bed bug.

Another reason that makes it unlikely for a bed bug to live in your ear is that they do not like to crawl across our skin. They will often feed by keeping their body on a surface near you while stretching their feeding tube to reach our skin. Not touching our skin, allows them to feed on us undetected. 

A person’s ear will not have the proper signals like pheromones and fecal matter. More than likely, if you are experiencing bed bugs, then they are not living in your ear. 

However, if you think a  single bed bug may have accidentally crawled into your ear, then you need to see an Ear doctor so they can look into your ear with a scope.

Can Bed Bugs Bite Your Scalp?

If you have a bald head, a bed bug can easily bite your scalp.  Bed bugs are known to bite other areas on the human body like the face, neck, hands, and feet.

A bald scalp is a viable place for a bed bug to feed because it has a good blood supply, and there are not many hairs to get in the way.

In addition, the bed bug that’s hiding in our headboard may come out to feed and encounter the bald scalp first. If you are experiencing bite-like marks on your bald scalp, then a bed bug inspection should be your #1 priority.

Can You Carry Bed Bugs On Your Body?

How do bed bugs get on your clothing? You can carry bed bugs on your clothing, but they do not live on your body like a tick, louse, scabies, or mite. We have an entire article dedicated to scabies vs bed bugs if you need further information.

It can happen if you have clothing sitting on a bed with an active bed bug infestation. If you put one piece of clothing on, you may unknowingly carry around a bed bug.

Another way bed bugs can get on your clothing is by sitting somewhere with bed bugs. If you sit down in a Doctor’s office, the chair may have a bed bug on it.

In turn, this bed bug can easily crawl onto your clothing in search of a blood meal. Bed bugs do not usually bite through clothing unless it is a loosely woven mesh.

What Kind of Bugs Can Live In Your Hair?

Many bugs can live in your hair, such as lice, scabies, chigger, mites, or a tick.  However, lice are the main culprits of an itchy head. So, Can Bed Bugs Live In Your Hair? The answer is that it is not likely.

Lice are tiny parasitic insects that can attach to human hair and survive by sucking our blood.  Lice tend to live in your hair, and if you are experiencing an itchy scalp, you should get it checked for lice.

lice found in a NYC hotel

Ticks are another type of parasite that lives in our bodies. A tick will bury its head into our skin to feed on blood. Ticks do not usually migrate to our hair, but they have the proper anatomy to migrate through hair.

It’s possible to see a tick on your scalp underneath your hair.  Some of the familiar places you are likely to find are near your armpits, groin, or scalp.

Scabies is a parasite that burrows under our skin. The immature scabies mite can live underneath the hair follicle. If you think you have scabies, you should isolate and treat them since they are highly contagious.

scabies mite burrowing near a hair shaft

Chiggers are tiny microscopic arachnids that live on our skin and cause itchy welts. If you were lying down in grassy or woody areas, then chiggers can get on your scalp. Learn more about where chiggers live here.

Mites like Demodex mites are microscopic parasites that live under our hair follicles. Demodex mites will build upon our skin and hair follicles, often due to a suppressed immune system. Some people have more hypersensitivity to the mites, showing an allergic reaction.

Final Thoughts for: Can Bed Bugs Live In Your Hair?

So, the answer to whether bed bugs can live in your hair is a resounding no. More importantly, bed bugs do not usually crawl through or cling onto the hair like lice or ticks. People even wonder if fleas can live in their hair

; the answer to that is also a “no”.

Bed bugs prefer to hide in areas that are unlikely to be disturbed, and hair does not fit that criterion. However, if you see bed bugs and suspect you may have an infestation, seek out professional help.

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