Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Detection / Identification of bed bugs

Head lice, I think.

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  1. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Jan 20 2011 23:55:01
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    I just wanted to mention that anyone who feels like bugs are crawling on them, during the day, should seriously consider the possibility of lice. I found some other signs pointing me towards bed bugs and jumped to that conclusion, but I treated and had no further signs of infestation but symptoms continued, though somewhat lessened.

    I don't consider myself at-risk for head lice, but I think that's what's been causing my problems. After just one treatment with Rid shampoo + comb, what I thought was just flaky scalp or dandruff instantly cleared up. Amazing!

    It's odd that I felt crawling and bites in my groin and torso (in addition to head!), but I think some may have fallen down there or perhaps got there after falling onto my chair.

  2. victimized

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jan 21 2011 0:16:23
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    Both my mother and I have considered this possibility and have discussed buying some stuff to treat our hair. When one sees bed bugs it is easiest to assume automatically that any other problem is related. Wouldn't the itching be intolerably bad? I read that the itching associated with head lice is relentless. My head itches all the time and I've usually blamed it on seborrhea (eczema of the scalp) which I had when I was little. It causes itching, scaling, flakes, etc. Gross I know but need to make that clear. My mother said her head has been itching a lot and when she massages rubbing alcohol all over her scalp it clears up. TO some extent I have had the same thing. It is hard to tell with my hair because it gets worn all wrapped tightly up on my head and sometimes the movement+hair pins causes hairs to pull at the root and could be some of the pinching feeling.

  3. loubugs

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jan 21 2011 4:22:48
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    Again, just like bed bugs, you shouldn't be treating anywhere if you really don't see the insect or signs of it. Sensations of crawling and biting are not signs of head lice.

    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. toledo

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jan 21 2011 8:18:03
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    You can see head lice. You can't always see/find bed bugs. I would not use RID unless you are sure you have head lice, as there are some side effects. Also, it doesn't make the lice "instantly clear up." You have to pick all the nits out of your hair. That will literally take hours. The nits are the eggs that attach to the hair shaft. If you don't get them all, they will continue to hatch. Have someone spend 5 minutes looking through your hair. That is all it takes to see if you really have head lice.l

  5. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jan 21 2011 22:49:29
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    loubugs - 18 hours ago  » 
    Again, just like bed bugs, you shouldn't be treating anywhere if you really don't see the insect or signs of it. Sensations of crawling and biting are not signs of head lice.

    Good advice, but I kept scratching egg-like things and stuff that, when placed under a microscope, looked like lice that were missing a couple limbs. Given that I caught these things with my fingernail, I guess that makes sense. Some hairs appeared to have egg shells attached to them.

    After the first treatment, when I got the bright idea to put my USB microscope directly on my head (I have thin hair in some spots, and it could focus through to the roots), I found a few eggs that appeared to be attached near the base of some hairs.

    I'm just saying that if people feel crawling sensations, they might consider getting checked for lice. Are you saying that people with headlice NEVER feel crawling?

  6. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jan 21 2011 23:10:57
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    toledo - 14 hours ago  » 
    You can see head lice.

    Yes, and I think I did.

    Also, it doesn't make the lice "instantly clear up." You have to pick all the nits out of your hair.

    I did use the comb, after shampooing, and it collected a lot of stuff. I have short and thinning hair, so it didn't take that long. And when I say it cleared up, I mean that I'd no longer find clumps of whitish stuff under my fingernails, if I scratched my scalp. I had just assumed that was oily clumps of dead skin.

    The nits are the eggs that attach to the hair shaft. If you don't get them all, they will continue to hatch.

    That's why the shampoo says to repeat treatment after 7-10 days. Since you'll never get all the eggs, the second treatment will kill the hatchlings before they can spawn another generation.

  7. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jan 21 2011 23:12:13
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    I'm trying to reply to the above posts. It appears to work, but then my post is nowhere to be found!

  8. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jan 21 2011 23:16:43
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    Maybe it's a problem with the quotes? Okay, I'll try replying sans quotes.

    Lou, verifying the pest before treatment is surely sound advice. In my case, I kept scratching egg-like things and stuff that, when placed under a microscope, looked like lice that were missing a couple limbs. Given that I caught these things with my fingernail, I figured it made sense that they were damaged. Also, upon close inspection, some hairs appeared to have egg shells attached to them.

    After the first treatment, when I got the bright idea to put my USB microscope directly on my head (I have thin hair in some spots, and it could focus through to the roots), I found a few eggs that appeared to be attached near the base of hairs.

    The reason I posted was to suggest that if people feel crawling sensations, they might consider getting checked for lice. Are you saying that people with headlice never feel crawling?

  9. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jan 21 2011 23:26:55
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    I once saw a bug attached to a hair root. I don't really know if it was on the root, or if they got smushed together, when I scratched (both were recovered from my fingernail).

    Two times, I have seen blood-filled bug parts and several of eggs that I know aren't just hair roots, since the hair goes through them and is off-center.

    I spent hours and hours, scratching and looking at dozens of things under the microscope, waiting to find a complete, wriggling louse. Finally, upon reviewing photos online, I decided I had seen enough things that looked just like parts of lice that I opted to try treatment.

  10. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jan 21 2011 23:27:46
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    Oops. My posts went through. Maybe caught in the spam filter?

  11. toledo

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Jan 22 2011 8:14:26
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    I hope that second treatment kills off everything. The comb never worked on any of our hair, because our hair is so fine. We had to literally pick off every egg (and as you know, they really stick to the hair shaft) . I'm talking eggs from 3 blonde children, my husband, and myself. The nanny even got them. Her boyfriend was kind enough to do her nit-picking. It took so many hours that I swore if it ever happened again, we were shaving our heads.

  12. scaredsilly

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Jan 22 2011 14:18:50
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    We had resistant lice some years back and had to manually remove them with Olive oil and a Licemiester comb. Then I would put mayo in our hair with a shower cap and wear overnight to suffocate any remainders. In addition to that, when hair was dry, I would flat-oron long hair. Sometimes you could hear the eggs pop. Gross. But that is the only thing that worked and it was chemical free

  13. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jan 23 2011 4:09:28
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    scaredsilly - 13 hours ago  » 
    I would flat-oron long hair. Sometimes you could hear the eggs pop. Gross. But that is the only thing that worked and it was chemical free

    "flat-iron", I think you meant to write?

    I read about an electrical comb that's another chemical-free way to kill them. It works by literally electrocuting them, sort of like a bug zapper. Sounds cool.

    As far as normal combs go, metal ones are supposed to be better than plastic ones, which I read start to widen after a few uses.

    Thanks for the stories & advice. My main point was really that lice are probably still much more common than bed bugs, and people should look carefully into whether they might be the culprit of their bites. I read about one study that found up to 75% of inspections missed an infestation, since lice move quickly and try to hide from light.

  14. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jan 25 2011 3:34:05
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    Oh hell. They're in my sinuses!!!

    I found some in my nose, and my sinuses are going crazy!!

    Thank goodness they don't burrow.

  15. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Jan 26 2011 0:37:16
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    insecticidal - 4 days ago  » 
    Oops. My posts went through. Maybe caught in the spam filter?

    Yes, it happens sometimes. I "rescue" any misdirected posts usually at least twice a day. So if you see a post disappear, hang tight.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  16. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Jan 26 2011 2:12:05
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    Nobugsonme - 1 hour ago  » 

    Yes, it happens sometimes. I "rescue" any misdirected posts usually at least twice a day.

    Splendid! Now, can you do anything 'bout the bugs up me nose?

    After a day of sniffing, wheezing, blowing, and coughing, things seem to have calmed down a bit. I rinsed with warm water - something I sometimes do when my nose is stuffy - it takes practice. I also had the idea to eat a bunch of spicy stuff, to make my nose runny.

    As for the rest, I am a bit surprised to keep finding more. I'm still not 1 week past the first treatment, so not all eggs will have hatched. For a while, it seemed like new eggs were even appearing! I did a second treatment after only 4 days.

    I was hopeful after the big "knock down"-effect the first Rid treatment had, but now I'm fearing I might have a strain that's at least somewhat pyrethroid resistant. Much of the first treatment's benefits might have simply been due to the combing. After finding some nits in some chest hair and an arm pit, I have now shaven most of my upper body. The longer this goes on, the more I'll probably shave. I may yet be hairless, before this is done!

    I know it takes time. I have read a little about permethrin, and I think I'd rather not expose myself to anything more harsh than pyrethrin (unless the bugs in my nose persist). Some of these pesticides are neurotoxins. I know there's a lot of safety data on them, but long term effects and interactions with other factors can be difficult to measure or study.

  17. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Jan 26 2011 10:37:47
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    insecticidal - 8 hours ago  » 

    Splendid! Now, can you do anything 'bout the bugs up me nose?
    After a day of sniffing, wheezing, blowing, and coughing, things seem to have calmed down a bit. I rinsed with warm water - something I sometimes do when my nose is stuffy - it takes practice. I also had the idea to eat a bunch of spicy stuff, to make my nose runny.
    As for the rest, I am a bit surprised to keep finding more. I'm still not 1 week past the first treatment, so not all eggs will have hatched. For a while, it seemed like new eggs were even appearing! I did a second treatment after only 4 days.
    I was hopeful after the big "knock down"-effect the first Rid treatment had, but now I'm fearing I might have a strain that's at least somewhat pyrethroid resistant. Much of the first treatment's benefits might have simply been due to the combing. After finding some nits in some chest hair and an arm pit, I have now shaven most of my upper body. The longer this goes on, the more I'll probably shave. I may yet be hairless, before this is done!

    Hi insecticidal,

    I do not know a lot about lice. Are you absolutely sure you have lice? I would be surprised if head lice were to go into your nose, but I am not an expert on this.

    I stress that neither I nor anyone else can determine if you have lice based on what you describe, but it might be worth getting an outside opinion. A doctor can look at what you have and should be able to confirm it as lice/nits (or not). Keep in mind other things (like flaking skin) can stick to the hair shaft and might be mistaken for nits.

    If it is lice, in NYC, there are professional expert nit-pickers you can visit, who might be of some help if you are trying to locate all nits and are working on your own. I imagine this is true in other cities also.

  18. BarelyLiving2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Jan 26 2011 11:11:51
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    Yea, in NYC you've got some good nit pickers. Our family used Licebgonners after we picked up some nasties from a rental house last summer. They were excellent and professional. If you need specific advice you could PM me. There is a prescription that is quite good now, but Nix and Rid don't work any more.

    But I don't think people would mistake headlice for bed bugs for very long at all because they stay confined to your head, and you can find them pretty easily, and they look extremely different than bed bugs. So this is a bit OT now. If only bed bugs were as easy to defeat...

  19. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Jan 26 2011 23:56:00
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    Thanks for the advice on nit pickers. I am quite willing to do a full-body shave, though. I'm doing pyrethrin treatments every 4 days and combing every 2 days. If I still find bugs after day 12, let's just say I'll be parting with my hair for a while.

    As for the diagnosis, I have a good picture of a louse on a facial hair that I took at 150x magnification. Definitely a louse of the head/body type (and other evidence says not body lice). I have plenty of egg pics where you can see the cap and everything. I even have one of a louse that apparently died while feeding, and another that died while hatching! And lots of pics of bug parts from under my fingernails. I'd post some, but I don't really need an expert opinion, at this point, and I don't want them on my flicker or google accounts.

    My sinuses have calmed down to within a somewhat normal range, for winter. Given what I've read about suffocation treatments and that clean hair is more lice-prone, I agree that they should not last long in ones nose (unless it's abnormally dry or something). I must have had some eggs get deposited in there, at some point.

    I realize that this thread is straying off topic, so this is probably my last reply (though I might want to make a direct answer to others' replies).

    And yes I did feel the lice crawling around my groin area! I had some itchy spots down there, as well as on my chest and upper back. No evidence of nits "south of the border", though. My theory is that since I wear collared shirts tucked into my pants, they were falling down there, especially when I'd scratch my head or neck.

    Maybe I'm sensitive to crawling and bites, but I can even sometimes feel them biting or crawling on parts of my head. After I scratch it, I then look and find a louse under my fingernail! Having very short and thinning hair probably helps. It's also one reason I was reluctant to even consider lice.

  20. insecticidal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Jan 27 2011 0:08:14
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    Oh, and BarelyLiving2, I agree that it does sound odd to confuse the two. The primary reason for this whole thread was to call it to attention, in case it happens to someone else. I won't go into all the reasons I concluded I had bed bugs, but one of them was that I consider myself at very low risk for head lice. The possibility didn't even cross my mind!

  21. bittenbitter

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Sep 1 2012 20:21:32
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    I know this was posted over a year ago, but to anyone reading, I've had lice three times in my life and my daughter has had it twice. (Gotta love school. :\) Lice will not live on any area of your body but your head. I would say you may want to check for crabs. If it weren't for the fact that bed bugs often cause crawling sensations on various parts of the body, including the head.

  22. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Sep 1 2012 20:58:31
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    bittenbitter - 33 minutes ago  » 

    Lice will not live on any area of your body but your head.

    Except if they are body lice.

    Or, also, as you mentioned, crabs (pubic lice).

  23. bittenbitter

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Sep 2 2012 3:19:21
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    Yeah, I guess I should've specified that I exclusively meant headlice. And by the way, Nobugs, you are AWESOME! And so is that Loubug guy. I was crying every night until I found this forum and started gaining info from people who are going through the same crisis as me. It is nice to have people as informative and knowledgeable as you two adding your tidbits in there. Thanks for all the time you guys and the others take, you're truly appreciated.

  24. bittenbitter

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Sep 2 2012 3:30:53
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    P.S. Anybody experiencing this may want to check for bird mites as well, but don't let that possibility freak you out unless you have one identified by a professional. I've read by various people with those that they indeed inhabit the nose, the ears, and even the throat somehow. *shiver*


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