Is this a bedbug?!(13 posts)
Is this a bedbug?! My girlfriend found this critter crawling on her the other day:
I've battled bedbugs in NYC before (years ago) and this bug here did not look like the classic"bedbug" (fatter, redder, faster, nocturnal) to me...however, it also looked similar enough for me to be concerned.
I've inspected the bedroom and there are no tell-tale signs or smells of bed bugs. However, having lived through the trauma once I'm now on full alert!
It's a louse. I don't know if its head or body but it is lice.
Hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like the legs are a lot thicker than the classic bed bug. Did it have the horizontal stripes on its body? Is it still alive?
This isn't official (would love the opinion of a PCO on this) but I think a good way to at least get closer to an answer to the "is it or isn't it" question is to keep the bugger alive in a container and see how long it lives. I've done this before with other bugs and they usually die within a few days. I've held onto a bb as long as 2 weeks in what i thought was an air-tight container and the damn thing just kept on living.
Yup. After some Google-ing, it definitely appears to be some sort of "louse".
Unfortunately, it looks most like a "head louse":
On the one hand, I'm SO relieved it is not a bed bugs.
On the other hand...eww!
Thanks for the lead!
Thanks, MadinMidAtlantic. I didn't see your post before replying above.
After some searching, this bug looks *exactly* like a louse. The defined features are much more related: the serrated tip at the bottom of the bug's abdomen, the markings along the sides of the abdomen, the mostly translucent body, etc.
You can see the relationship best here:
It's difficult to say if human head or body louse since both might very well be subspecies of one species, so it doesn't matter. Typically body lice will stay in layers of clothing near body and get on to feed, but then off and back to clothing when finished; head lice stay on hairs, most often on head. Eggs laid in clothing by body lice and on base of hair shafts by head lice. These insects feed much more often than do bed bugs. And, yes, their life styles and association with humans are very different from that of the common bed bug!!
Thanks, loubugs. I'll will certainly be doing more research today and will investigate my apartment (and girlfriend) later.
As long as it is not bed bugs, I'm cool. I nearly lost my mind dealing with that experience and wish I had known about this site then!
Two suggested purchases as you head into The Lice Wars:
1.) The Robicomb (which electrocutes them as you comb through the dry hair)
2.) The Licemeister Comb (very fine-toothed comb that will grab the nits/eggs as well)
If they're headlice, in NYC (and I suspect other places), you can also pay someone to professionally and painstakingly remove all your lice and nits.
I've got school age kids, and we just went through lice - as have most of our friends, since it is rampant in NYC schools.
Searching online I found and successfully used this treatment. Key thing is to do it on both of you, starting at the same time, or you'll bounce it back and forth:
Douse your scalp and hair with Listerine (the original amber color), keep it on under a shower cap for two hours. A spray bottle is useful for application, but shield your eyes.
Rinse. Spray head with white vinegar, back under shower cap for one hour.
Wash/condition. Comb out hair with nit comb.
Repeat once a week by dousing with listerine plus a dash of vinegar for two weeks, so total treatment: 3 times.
Just to add - the Listerine kills the bugs (it's apparently what they use in the military), and the vinegar loosens the 'glue' on the eggs so you can comb them out.
I think if you want to avoid the combing, you could just do Listerine more frequently, killing the nymphs as they hatch - lice don't lay eggs until they are 7-10 days old. Good luck!
Thanks for the tips!
However, I'm slightly disturbed that we might have some variety of lice! We are in our 30s, are working professionals, live in a clean new construction building in Chicago, keep our place immaculately clean and have excellent hygiene, etc.
Neither of us have shown any symptoms and we scoured each others hair (to humorous effect) last night and found no creatures, nits or signs of either.
Regardless, we plan to take some preventative measures. Better safe than sorry!
I'll post the results if there is any more to this story...which hopefully will not be the case.
Unlike bedbugs, lice live on people, not in homes. They can only survive 24-48 hrs off a host. So chances are you had your head on a bus/train headrest or tried on a hat where a licey-headed child had just been.
The Listerine isn't bad, kind of refreshing actually LOL! And if you don't think you have nits - though note that they are VERY hard to see unless you know exactly what you're looking for - you can probably skip the combout and the vinegar, and just do a second Listerine a week later.
I swear, I'm close to being an entomologist, between the lice and the bedbugs. Critters be gone!
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