Bed Bugs or Lice? - Can Both Live in Human Hair?

Bed Bugs or Lice? - Can Both Live in Human Hair?

Given that bed bugs and lice are very similar in size and they both feed on blood, when comparing bed bugs to lice it is necessary to know what insect you are dealing with. Proper identification is one way to come up with the right plan of action and get the proper treatment.

Bed Bugs vs Lice - Comparison Chart

Below is a chart that will help you differentiate the two:


Bed Bugs



They have ovalular, flat bodies that get bigger after they have been fully fed.

Their bodies are oblong and more elongated.


They are bigger, around a quarter of an inch in size.

They are smaller than an eighth of an inch in size.


Brownish-red or mahogany.

They can be light white-ish or gray. Lice can also adapt their colour to their surroundings. Thus, the different colours you can find online.


They will most likely live in mattresses, headboards, box springs, or furniture near the bed.

They tend to live on the scalp.

Feeding Habits

Bed bugs don’t seek food all the time. They feed almost every night and target exposed parts of the host’s body when sleeping. These insects will rarely opt for the scalp since it is difficult for them to deal with hair.

Lice can feed on you any time they like as they already live on your scalp. Aside from your scalp, they can also suck blood on your upper neck and ears.

Living Behavior

They find nearby places to hide from your bed or any places where the host spends long periods of time. They also tend to live in areas that are least disturbed and only lay their eggs in such places.

Since they live on your scalp, lice will lay eggs on hair strands. They seek shelter only on your head.


The chart above will help you to determine whether you have bed bugs or lice in your hair.

The Damages Brought by Each Insect

When it comes to damages, bed bugs can do more damage to one’s life are compared to lice. With lice, bites cause itchiness, skin irritation, and sometimes secondary infections due to constant scratching or allergic reactions. Also, since they are living on the scalp and laying their eggs on hair strands, it is unpleasant to look at as they are nearly visible when you look at one’s infested hair closely.

Though bed bugs may also cause itchiness, skin irritation, and secondary infections, they will most likely appear on different parts of the body. Usually, they’ll appear on uncovered areas when you sleep. Generally, these pests go out and feed at night, which makes it easy for them to feed unnoticed. This results in paranoia, insomnia, and scarring due to the bites.

How to Get Rid of Them

When dealing with lice, you can always opt for various shampoo treatments that can kill both adult lice and their eggs. However, with bed bugs, you need to use bed bug traps and professional treatments to get rid of an infestation. It might also require bed bug interceptors and passive monitors to make sure that any remaining bed bugs will not crawl back into your home after one or two treatments.

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