Can bed bugs get in your hair? Yep – here’s how to fix it

Well, the best way to answer this question is perhaps to start with a brief about these pesky insects. They are small brownish, pesky insects that usually feed on animal or human blood. Adults are often flat in shape and on average, they are equal to the apple seed in size(check out photos below). However, they swell after feeding and become a reddish color. They don’t fly; rather, they crawl quickly on walls, floors, and ceilings where they may live around the home.

Females lay hundreds of eggs, which are often dirty white in color. Young ones, known as nymphs, can shed their skins about five times before maturing and require feeding on blood before shedding. They can fully develop within a month and produce about 3 to 4 generations within a year.

Bed bugs can go pretty much any place and you can find them in your hair, although very rare. Bed bugs are not that well adapted to clinging on to human hair, compared to lice which have claws that enable them to cling on. However, it’s still possible to find them in hair.

close up picture of bed bugs in hair

If you have an infestation, chances are you brought them in from one of your travels. You could have picked them from an infested bus, train, motel or even an airplane. They can multiply really fast and tend to grow in number within a very short time.

photo of a bug on bedding

Find out effective ways to get rid of them fast.

They live usually in bedding, but will lay eggs within crevices and cracks and will feed on your blood at night. You may find little spot of blood on sheets, which can be tell-tale sign. During their nightly adventures, they can move around the home, so you could end up with them hiding within your hair.

Many people suffering this problem have reported that, like lice or ticks, they can indeed get onto your scalp, and once this happens, it may be quite difficult to treat. However, don’t despair, it is possible to treat and receive the help you need.

Symptoms of them living on your head

The bed bugs feed by piercing the skin with their tiny beak. The bite might not be serious, but it’s usually irritating. They at first inject a small amount of anaesthetic liquid which makes skin numb so that when they suck your blood you won’t easily notice. For this reason, you will often not feel the actual bite.  Read more –

After puncturing the skin, they suck human blood for about 2 to 5 minutes and then crawl into hiding. After a few minutes, the bite may turn into a small bump or an itchy welt on your scalp. You may also notice blood stains on a pillow and sheet. If you have a serious problem, you might notice a musty, offensive odor.

Their bites will be in straight rows and will commonly make your scalp sore and raw. Some people worry whether they cause hair loss or having it fall out, but there doesn’t seem to be any proven connection. You may also have the feeling of something crawling on your scalp from time to time. You might mistake the bug eggs for dandruff, but if look at the pictures below it will help you know what you should look for.


Head infestation – true or false?

Yes bed bugs live on hair, but they do not prefer living there or on the skin. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t bite you on your forehead, scalp, neck, and cheeks. Their bodies and legs are simply not designed to crawl or travel through human hair. Unlike head lice or ticks, they aren’t equipped with claw-like limbs to help them cling on.

Additionally, they prefer cool environments than around the human body. So while they live mostly in other places around the home, they will often come for a bite on your skin and crawl away once they are full.

a man showering his hair

They can expertly live on hair or weave for days, but they might not stay there for too long. Finding them is not easy, just as trying to find lice or ticks isn’t easy either. These pesky insects can crawl on your head, sucking blood from exposed regions of your skin. They are also least likely to lay eggs, but this is not entirely impossible.

Home remedies

Whichever the case, most people cannot even withstand the idea of bed bugs around their house, leave alone in their hair. If you see any signs of them, you need to move fast. And there are various ways of getting rid of them if you find them around the home or on your body.

Find out how to prevent them from spreading to other rooms.

Finding them alive in your hair can be quite an exhausting experience; you will be required to comb and comb(just as you would with lice) some more while undergoing frequent washing. Many people have reported significant success by rubbing alcohol together with regular shampooing which may help with itch from bites and other symptoms.

Despite all these, there are high chances that some eggs will be left behind. If you find them, then repeated treatment is important to kill them and get rid of them for good.

Bites on scalp pictures

close up picture of bug bites on scalp

If you have a beard, you might want to consider shaving, trimming it or combing thoroughly to remove eggs, nymphs, and nits. Here are some of the specific ways you can wash the bed bugs from your hair.

• Remove them manually

Most cases of an infestation in the head happen to people who wear infested wigs or hairpieces(same with lice) that can carry them and allow them to live for some time. If this is the case,  you might want to remove such infested items to eliminate the eggs.

• Shampoo and shower thoroughly 

Use hot water: thoroughly combing and washing your hair with hot water has been proven to be one of the most successful methods in the removal of the eggs, nits and nymphs. I recommend that you use head shampoo before washing your body. If possible, just fill the bath tab with as warm water as your body can handle and immerse yourself for some minutes; the heat will help kill them.

• Use an Alcohol Wash

Not the one for drinking, of course; the type used for cleaning outer wounds would do a perfect job. Simply mix the alcohol with water and soak your hair in it for about five minutes. Be sure to smear and massage around the roots. Do repeated washes in about a week until you’re sure all the insects are dead. Again, one of the best treatments there is.

• Almond Oil Treatment

Almond oil is also great at repelling these bugs. You need to thoroughly smear the oil from your scalp to the ends of your hair tips. This should be done regularly for about 3 days to 1 week to effectively treat the problem. You may also use apple cedar oil by adding a small amount to shampoo during the regular shampooing sessions.

Check out the SayByeBugs Spray. Many people report it to be very effective.

photo of a lice comb

Effective Solutions and Pest Removal

Even though the bed bugs are least likely to lay eggs, imagining even a single bug for a single minute on your body is tormenting enough. Good reason to either do your own pest control or call an extermination company who may do it for you.

Thankfully, with a few pest control measures such as washing your scalp with hot water, alcohol and smearing it with apple cedar vinegar can bring the much-needed relief. It’s important to note however that if you spot the them within hair, clothes or beddings, or you have the bites on your skin or body, chances are you have a possible infestation around the home.

So in addition to treating the scalp, you should take a step further and rid the bugs from your entire home using bug sprays and other means that are shown to work well. Check out this post about the Eco Defense spray.


Do these they wash off in the shower?

These bugs generally don’t like water, so yes they will fall off in the shower, but you should really use bed bug shampoo and use a comb to make sure you remove any eggs.

Do they cause alopecia?

Not directly, but as an infestation may cause stress and obviously itching, these secondary issues could cause hair loss. If you continue to have concerns about this you may need to contact your doctor for advice.

Do they bite the scalp?

If they do get in hair, it is possible for them to bite a person on the scalp. They can bite any place on where skin is exposed, usually on the neck, head, hands, feet when a person is asleep. 

Is is possible for them to make their home around your private parts?

Generally speaking, bed bugs are able to hold on, whether on your head or pubic hair. However, if you do find them on pubic hair, it is best to take a shower and wash them out straight away.

Do these insects hide on the scalp?

An adult is visible to the naked eye, so while it’s possible for them to hide on your head, they are easily noticeable. Also as they have a reddish brown colour, depending on the colour of your hair, they will stand out.

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Dave Campbell

I'm Dave Campbell and the owner of You can read more about me and my background on my About Me page.

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