Can Bed Bugs Live In Your Hair? How To Get Them Out

A bed bug in in hair

“Can bed bugs live in your hair?” is a question that we’ve been hearing more and more lately. While it’s definitely an understandable concern, we’re surprised by how few people know the answer to this question.

In this guide you’ll learn how bed bugs can get in your hair, if they’ll bite your scalp, if they’ll lay eggs, and how you can get these pesky insects out!

Can Bed Bugs Get In Your Hair?

Dealing with bed bugs in your home is already a nightmare. But the thought of  finding them in your hair? That’s in an entirely different realm of creepy!

Most people associate these pests with dirty beds, seedy hotel rooms, and filthy furniture. But while they prefer to live in dark furniture and bedroom crevices, bed bugs can live in your hair!

This isn’t a myth designed to freak you out. Believe it or not, they’re one of many parasitic insects that don’t mind feeding off the blood in your scalp.

Finding bed bugs in your hair comes with good news and bad news (all things considered).

The good news is that these pests very rarely migrate to your hair, and it’s not an environment where they can thrive.

Quick Tip: Unlike other insects, bed bugs aren’t equipped to move through the terrain of your scalp. Bed bugs are slow crawlers as it is. Throwing dense hair into the mix makes your scalp pretty unappealing. If you find bed bugs in your hair, you can rest easy knowing that they won’t stay there long.

The bad news?

Discovering bed bugs in your hair means that you’re dealing with a much larger infestation. Bed bugs would much rather nest in your furniture and feed on your blood in the dead of night.

Seeing some move into your scalp could indicate that there’s overcrowding elsewhere. That means you’ll have to do a lot more than just get the bed bugs out of your hair to address the problem. If you don’t eradicate the entire bed bug population, you’re just looking at potential repeat invasions of your mane!

Do They Live In Your Hair Or Hide In It?

Bed bugs can hide in your hair. However, it’s only a temporary measure.

As mentioned earlier, bed bugs are not capable of living on your scalp long-term. They cannot sustain themselves in that environment.

Quick Tip: We understand that most people who ask the question, “Can bed bugs live in your hair?” aren’t too concerned with the distinction between short and long-term intent, but it’s an important one to make.

You see, fleas and lice have hook-like appendages that they use to latch onto your skin. They’re also master jumpers and have strong legs to help them move through the individual follicles. Bed bugs don’t have any of that!

They have six short and weak legs. These insects can barely run on a smooth surface, let alone the thick brush of hair. 

One bed bug stumbling through hair

There’s a good chance that the bed bugs you found in your hair simply moved there while you were sleeping. In many cases of bed bugs in hair, the state of the bed is the true culprit. Your bed or nearby furniture might be hiding a larger bed bug population.

Because you’re lying on infested furniture, the bugs have easy access to your hair.

When you get up in the morning, most are going to fall off. Remember, they don’t have those strong hooks to hold on. As a result, you’re more likely to find active bed bugs early in the morning when you first rise versus several hours later.

Signs You Have Bed Bugs In Your Hair

Because they don’t stay in your hair long after you get up from bed, it’s not always easy to spot them. Bed bugs are surprisingly elusive. They’re primarily nocturnal and spend most of the day hiding in the shadows.

Fortunately, there are several signs that you might be dealing with bed bugs in your hair.

The most noticeable symptom will be itchy bites on your scale. Bed bugs leave behind tiny, red bumps after they feed. They’re raised and typically appear in clusters.

You might have a hard time seeing the bites on your scalp. However, you’ll surely be able to feel them.

Bed bug bites begin to itch when they heal. You might also feel a bit of stinging whenever you apply shampoo or cosmetic products.

Quick Tip: Pay close attention to your hairline. It’s not uncommon for bed bugs to bite the scalp just before the hair. The bare skin is easier to access than the hair-covered skin on your crown.

Another potential sign is eggs. Bed bug eggs are about a millimeter long. They take on an off-white color and usually have a glossy finish due to the sticky surface.

That sticky shell works wonderfully on furniture and smooth surfaces. But in your hair, it tends to be ineffective. As a result, any bed bug eggs in your hair usually fall out and end up near the hairline.

The eggs are difficult to spot and are often mistaken for dandruff, but if you take a closer look you should be able to tell the difference. You’ll notice that they’re slightly more prominent than dandruff flakes. Plus, they have a much more rigid texture.

The final sign of potential bed bugs in your hair is the smell. This is a subtle symptom that may go under the radar. But if you have a strong sense of smell and a particularly large infestation, you may smell the bugs.

Bed bugs release alarm pheromones when they’re in danger. It’s a musky and unpleasant odor. With all of your movement and the constant threat of falling, it’s not uncommon for bed bugs to give off the pungent aroma whenever they’re in your hair.

How To Get Bed Bugs Out Of Your Hair

Many people think that getting bed bugs out of your hair will be an arduous task. After all, if you’ve ever had to deal with lice or fleas you know how stubborn tiny pests can be!

Fortunately, bed bugs are a lot easier to manage than most blood-sucking parasites. Because they don’t live in your hair naturally, treatment is pretty straightforward. Here are some ways you can get rid of bed bugs in your hair.

Trim Your Hair & Remove Hair Pieces

This is a bit drastic, but it deserves mention nonetheless. If you’re not opposed to sporting shorter hair or a bald head, that’s one of the quickest ways to ensure that the bugs don’t invade your hair!

A bed bug in in hair

These pests like dark and hidden places. While not ideal, your hair provides decent temporary shelter. As you cut more off, you’re eliminating one of the only enticing things about your scalp!

If you wear a hairpiece, you should remove it until the infestation is over. Bed bugs can hide in wigs, toupees, extensions, and any other hairpieces. If you’re not careful, you could be accelerating the speed in which bed bugs spread to other parts of your home.

Take Advantage Of Heat

Professional exterminators often use heated devices to kill pests. Even though bed bugs do have some heat resilience, these insects do have their limits. This means you can use heated environments or specialty devices to kill them in a matter of minutes.

Have access to a sauna? Raise the temperatures to a setting between 117 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, sit and enjoy the heat for 10 minutes or so.

That’s more than enough time to kill any bed bugs in your hair.

Quick Tip: If you don’t have a sauna, you can also use a heated cap, hair steamer, or dryer. Just make sure to be careful and avoid burns.

Use Specialty Shampoo

One of the best options for getting bed bugs out of hair is using a specialty shampoo.

There are many products out there that contain bug-killing insecticides. Most are for lice, but lice shampoo is just as effective at getting rid of bed bugs as well.

Anything shampoo that has permethrin or pyrethrins will do. Those insecticides are very effective contact killers. When mixed with shampoo, you can create a nice lather that will eradicate any bed bug that’s unfortunate enough to be in your hair.

Quick Tip: All-natural alternatives and scalp sprays exist as well. However, we always recommend using lathering shampoos for the most success.

Try An Alcohol Solution

In a pinch? Try using alcohol to kill the bed bugs and get them out of your hair (literally).

A 91 percent rubbing alcohol product can eat through the bug’s exoskeleton and effectively suffocate them. You can make a spray solution by diluting the alcohol with an even volume of water. Spray the mixture liberally throughout your hair and let it sit.

Alternatively, you can add a bit of alcohol to your regular shampoo. It works just the same.

Keep in mind that alcohol can be incredibly drying to your skin and hair. Be careful and don’t overdo things!

Use A Nit Comb

Nit combs are specialty tools that can physically remove bugs.

They’re usually made for lice and have super-fine teeth. The teeth are so close together that even tiny insects can’t make it through!

Run the comb through your hair in sections. We recommend wearing some gloves and having a bug disposal container nearby. It’s best to use the comb after washing while it’s still wet.

With each pass through your hair, you should see some dead bed bugs in the mix. Clean them off the comb, pop them in your disposal container, and toss the entire thing in the garbage.

Drown The Bugs In Hair Oil

Another promising treatment for bed bugs in your hair is to use oil. These insects need air to breathe, so dousing your hair in oil is a fantastic way to drown them.

You can use neem oil, which is a natural repellant. Neem oil is thought to affect insect hormone production and stop the reproduction process. While that’s a bit overkill in this situation, it’s a nice perk to have.

You can also use olive oil, coconut oil, or one of the many lush hair oils on the market. Saturate your hair and wrap it up in some plastic. You can leave the oil treatment for an hour or two or keep it on all night long.

Once you rinse it off, the dead bed bugs should come out also. As a bonus, you’ll have ultra-nourished hair that’s soft to the touch!

Treat The Infestation At The Source

Last but not least, you have to take care of the overall bed bug problem in your home. 

One bed bug crawling on top of a mattress

Realistically, it’s better to take care of the home infestation as soon as possible. If you don’t, you’ll have to deal with even more bed bugs in your hair in a few days!

Those bugs didn’t appear out of thin air! They migrated from the furniture in your home to your head! 

Take some time to eradicate these pests effectively. Clean every nook and cranny, apply insecticides, and wash every linen. Examine your furniture closely and seal up any voids that the bugs use to nest.

It may take some time, but the only way to truly keep your hair free of bed bugs is by killing the entire population in your home!

Do Bed Bugs Lay Eggs In Hair?

It’s rare for bed bugs to lay eggs in hair. However, it can happen.

Females produce eggs in their lifetime. Not only that, but they’re capable of laying eggs every single day! If the timing is right, it’s not outside the realm of possibility to find some in your hair.

The good news is that they usually don’t stick. The otherwise tacky surface of the eggs doesn’t work on soft hair. As a result, they end up falling out the moment you get up.

You may see some around the hairline. But even then, finding them in your hair is a rare occurrence.

Do Bed Bugs Bite Your Scalp?

Bed bugs in your hair can bite your scalp. These pests are parasitic and feed on human blood to survive. 

Unlike other pests, bed bugs don’t have any preference when it comes to biting locations. If they’re in your hair, there’s a good chance that they’ll go to the scalp to feed!

Luckily, bed bugs tend to have a hard time moving around your hair. They’re not capable of making it through the jungle of follicles.

Quick Tip: When people see scalp bites from bed bugs in their hair, it’s most often localized near the hairline where they have an easier time feeding.

Final Thoughts

Getting bed bugs out of your hair isn’t as challenging as it might seem. After all, these little insects don’t really want to be stuck there in the first place!

As long as you follow our suggestions for getting rid of them (and address the larger pest problem in your home), you shouldn’t have to worry about bed bugs living in your hair for very long.

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