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Bed bugs in hair? Questions for experts!

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  1. OutOutDarnBugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Aug 27 2017 10:10:26
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    Dear Good People of the Forum,

    Over the years, I've instructed basically everyone I've met on how to inspect, how to treat, and how to be aware of bed bugs. Earlier this week, a friend asked me some questions about bed bugs in hair. She's not worried she has bugs in her hair, she just wanted to be well-informed. Being an elementary school teacher, I'm an expert on lice, but I had to admit that I didn't know the answers to her questions. I offered to post them to the site to get expert opinions, and then pass the information on to her. She was worried that the questions would seem silly, but I assured her that the experts on this site would be more than helpful.

    The questions seem mixed between bug behavior and bug ability, in my humble opinion. They have less to do with bugs living in your hair on a regular basis, and seem to be more about bugs just getting in it in the first place...

    1. Can bugs climb up clothing and get into your hair? For example, if you are wearing a shirt or a jacket that happens to have a bug on it, and your hair is down and touching the cloth, are they likely (or is it possible at all?) for them to climb up the individual strands of your hair?

    2. If your hair brushes a wall or structure that potentially has a bug on it, would they be able to transfer to your hair in that short contact moment? (She recognized that bugs would have to be on that exact spot in that exact moment, anyway, but was wondering about the ability to transfer if hair brushed against something.)

    3. I told her about individuals who may have more of an issue (those with hairstyles that do not get wet often), and that simple shampooing and conditioning would work, but she was also wondering if brushing or combing works if you're worried about something. Would the bugs stick in your hair like lice, making it impossible for you to shake or brush them out, or would they fall out if you shook your hair out/brushed or combed?

    Many many thanks for your help! Any advice that I can pass on to her would be much appreciated!

  2. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Aug 27 2017 10:51:34
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    Hello! While waiting for pro response for these specific questions, here is an old thread, which addresses at least one of your concerns!! (And you'll notice in the responses, there are a few expert replies)

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/can-bed-bugs-live-in-your-hair

    "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras" Theodore Woodward

    I am, by no means, a pro. I'm simply a person that has had unfortunate luck, and somehow acquired the little guys.
    Any/all 'advice' I have to share is based on my own personal history and/or things I've read from the professionals on this site.
    My profession is medical, which is where I am confident in any advice I give, however rare it may be.
  3. loubugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Aug 28 2017 3:02:13
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    Bed bugs aren't drawn to hair. They can crawl on hair, but unlike head or body lice, don't hold onto it very well.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  4. OutOutDarnBugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Aug 28 2017 18:10:09
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    Thanks, Lou. That's what I thought. So there's no reason to think that if they were on your clothing that they would climb up the individual strands if your hair was touching the clothes? Since they don't hold on very well, if they DID happen to get in your hair, would they be easily shaken or brushed out?

    Many thanks in advance!

  5. loubugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Aug 29 2017 5:14:25
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    OutOutDarnBugs - 11 hours ago  » 
    Thanks, Lou. That's what I thought. So there's no reason to think that if they were on your clothing that they would climb up the individual strands if your hair was touching the clothes? Since they don't hold on very well, if they DID happen to get in your hair, would they be easily shaken or brushed out?
    Many thanks in advance!

    Not exactly. I didn't say they couldn't crawl on hair and hold on. They don't have the specialized tarsi like those of Pediculus for grasping hair shafts, but can crawl on hair. You can certainly brush or comb them off very easily.

  6. OutOutDarnBugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Aug 29 2017 18:08:13
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    Oh, I see. I didn't realize that they could climb up the smaller pieces of hair. I guess I was under the impression that they needed something more stable to grasp on to and crawl up and I though hair was a little too... movement-filled and tricky. But a good shaking or brushing would dislodge any that managed to find their way up into your hair? Thanks again, Lou!


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