Updated: February 3, 2021

Given the name, you probably believe that bed bugs primarily reside in bedrooms… 

where they don’t have to travel far to feed on unsuspecting victims.

Especially when those victims are asleep and in their most vulnerable state.

However, this is not always the case. Bed bugs are notorious for their ability to survive in a range of places….

This brings us to the question.

Can Bed Bugs Hide in or Around Your Body?

The answer is….

Not usually.

Bed bugs are famous for their hitchhiking abilities but this usually involves your clothes, or baggage. After bed bugs feed they need to escape to a safe place to digest.

Often times people will confuse bed bugs with similar insects like Lice, as those pests will live in your hair until they’re removed.

Do Bed Bugs Stay on Your Body?

Bed bugs can cause anxiety and fear, usually because people think every itch or tiny feeling on their body is a bed bug.

People who have experienced an infestation are likely to have recurring fears or nightmares of being unknowingly covered in these insects.

So can bed bugs live on your body?

This answer is a definite no…

Bed bugs can’t live on your body nor do they want to. After a bed bug feeds, it swells up into a red balloon, to almost 3 times its normal size.

There is no way that a bed bug could survive on a human body and live discretely while swelled up to that level.

How Do Bed Bugs Spread?

Though bed bugs won’t live on your body….

It’s true that you can carry bed bugs with you, especially after encountering an infested area such as a:

  • Hotel
  • Apartment
  • Airbnb
  • Nursing Home

Bed bugs will likely hitch a ride on your clothes or other belongings.

Even if you’re carrying just one bed bug, you can be unknowingly spreading future infestations wherever you go.

An individual female bed bug can lay anywhere from 200 – 500 eggs in her lifetime.

Under normal circumstances, these insects can live around 4 months, but in certain cases they can live up to 1 year.

What About Bed Bugs in Your Scalp or Hair?

Bed bugs, unlike lice, ticks, and other pests, like to feed on bare skin where access is easy.

This includes the neck, face, arms, legs, and other areas of the body with little hair.

Bed bugs may bite you on your head if you’re bald, but otherwise, they’re unlikely to target the scalp or anywhere else on the body with hair (since it makes it more difficult to bite).

Bed bugs also prefer cool environments, which means that they will simply bite their victims and head back to their hiding place to digest.

The fact that bed bugs hide in hard to reach places is why they’re so difficult to remove. Often times conventional treatments such as insecticides don’t persist to the levels that more expensive options, such as heat treatments do.

Symptoms of Bed Bugs in Hair

Though bed bugs won’t live on your head, they could bite around your hair.

Bites themselves are painless, but you may notice small red welts across your forehead or hairline. 

Other than skin irritation and the fact that bites are cosmetically displeasing, these insects aren’t usually dangerous to your health.

There are rare cases where bed bugs can cause more severe symptoms.

While these insects aren’t known to transmit disease (such as COVID-19) there are situations when a victim has an adverse reaction to the bites.

This can cause the following more severe symptoms:

  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Severe Swelling
  • Allergic Reactions

Luckily, these insects don’t do too well in hair.

In fact, if you see bite marks near your hair or anywhere on your body with considerable amounts of hair, the culprit is likely another type of pest.

Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?

Bed bugs will hide in a variety of places. Whether it be around the bed, within seams or tags of the box spring, or cracks in the bed frame and furniture. If the room is heavily infested, bed bugs can be in several different places.

Some of which include:

  • In the seams of chairs and couches.
  • Within drawers.
  • In electrical outlets or appliances.
  • Under loose wallpaper or behind wall hangings.

If you’re experiencing a severe infestation, it’s easy to find bed bugs moving around. If you’re only experiencing a minor infestation, locating the bugs could be much more challenging.

If you fail to identify an infestation, even when it is minor, it’s likely to turn much more severe in 2 to 3 months.

When they’re not feeding…

(which is most of the time)

Bed bugs will likely be hiding. Lying dormant and focusing on reproducing until the next time they need to feed.

The key to locating bed bugs is to understand their behavior.

How they eat, live, reproduce etc…

Click here to better understand the different stages of a bed bug’s life.

Bed bugs can survive and remain active in many different environments. This is one of the reasons why bed bugs are labeled by exterminators as some of the world’s most resilient creatures.

This has contributed to the growth of infestations and the ongoing bed bug epidemic.

These pests will survive in temperatures as low as 46 degrees F and as high as 113 degrees F.

That’s why to kill bed bugs with heat…

The infested area needs to be hotter than 120 degrees F for multiple hours.

Can Bed Bugs Get In Your Ears?

When people learn bed bugs are crawling around their faces while they’re asleep….

They naturally have a fear of bed bugs crawling inside their bodies. To clarify, meaning the bug has crawled in their nose, mouth, or ears.

While this is indeed possible it’s fairly unlikely….

Bed bugs are smart and savvy creatures who have no interest in wandering inside a human body.

Because why would they?

Bed bugs can get everything they need at the surface.

These creatures have special beaks that allow them to penetrate through your skin and make a meal out of your blood.

Also, though these creatures are quite small (about a quarter inch long), they’re a little too big to fit inside your nostrils and ear canals.

Finding Bed Bugs in Your Home

Bed bugs may not be able to live on your body, but they can live anywhere in your home where they can gain access to a host.

It’s difficult to determine the cause of an infestation, but in most cases bed bugs came from one of the following situations:

  • You went to an area with a crowd such as a bus or movie theater and unknowingly brought the infestation home with you.
  • If you live in a multi-unit apartment complex or a multifamily building, you may have gotten bed bugs from your neighbor.
  •  You purchased a piece of used furniture that was infested with bed bugs.

One Myth About Bed Bugs

People mistakenly think that a dirty environment is conducive to infestations, but bed bugs don’t thrive in filthy conditions.

Even if your home is clean and free of clutter, bed bugs can live comfortably.

Having a clean and sanitary living area is important, but it does not prevent an infestation.

Instead……

It helps you spot and identify an infestation quicker than you normally would have. Being quick to spot an existing infestation is important because you can address the situation before it spreads.

Bed bugs can be a danger to you, but they can also reside near your children or pets.

Here are some places they can hide outside the bedroom:

  • Behind furniture
  • Cracks in the walls
  • On wall hangings
  • Along baseboards

Whether you have traveled recently or noticed suspicious itchy bites on you or your family members, you should check these common hiding spots for any evidence of bed bugs.

Where do Bed Bugs Hide During the Day?

In most cases, bed bugs typically won’t want to go more than 8 feet from their host (this is why bed bugs love bedrooms).

Here are a few places to locate bed bugs during the day:

Look Around Your Bed

This is of course the most obvious place to find bed bugs. Start with your pillow, comforter, blankets, and sheets.

Then go further and inspect your mattress and box spring, making sure to look around crevices, seams, and underneath the mattress tag.

If you do suspect bed bugs invaded your bed consider getting special mattress encasements.

Walls and Baseboards 

These insects can travel through some of the smallest places, so you’ll often find them along baseboards or inside your walls…

Bed Bugs Can Be Anywhere

In the case of severe infestations….

Bed bugs can be found almost anywhere (often times in the most obscure places). Therefore, if you’re experiencing a serious infestation, you should look for clustering along the ceiling and wall junctions.

They could be hanging out in trash cans, receptacles, or along outlets.

Typically there are DIY methods to removing an infestation, although if it’s too severe you should always seek the help of a professional.

Attempting to remove a bad infestation yourself is extremely risky. For example, a in 2017, a woman burns down a multi-family home in Cincinnati while trying to kill bed bugs with rubbing alcohol.

The video below is another example of an amateur bed bug treatment going terribly wrong.

Bed Bug Life Stages

To properly identify an infestation, you should understand the different stages of the bed bug life cycle:

Adult bed bugs: Dark red or brown and around the size of an apple seed.

Nymphs (baby bed bugs): May appear white or yellow.

Eggs: Are white, and around the size of a grain of sugar.

If you don’t see any living bed bugs or eggs, you may see evidence of their presence, including blood spots on bedding or mattresses, shed skin, or dead bugs.

As soon as you identify the first sign of an infestation, you should contact a professional pest control service to properly eliminate the bed bgs.

You may not need to worry about bed bugs living anywhere on your body, but they can still live and spread quickly throughout your home.

Taking the appropriate steps to eliminate and prevent the spread of bed bugs can keep you and your children consistently safe from these pests.

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Date Published: 2020-01-27

Written By Robert Brown

I'm a seasoned pest control veteran. I focus my time on writing educational content about the industry and helping people learn about indoor insects. When I'm not thinking about bed bugs I am spending time with my daughters or walking the dog.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    I think y’all e wrong I think bed bugs do live inside ur skin .and do they feel like they burn u .

  2. B

    So does it necessarily mean you have a bunch of them if you found just one? But it was a big one.

  3. Michelle

    Bed bug is one thing u can’t get retro of in your home at all an it is really hard so give me some point of view

  4. lahlah

    microban kills on contact!!

  5. Kristen Annunziato

    Your wrong. I have been living with these horrible things over a year. When the nymphs are agitated, 5he tiny ones that are really hard to see, they go everywhere. Your hair, face, nose, ears. I have felt them crunch in my teeth. You dont taste them but you feel there hard bodies. Ew! I have been thru this about 4 or 5 times. Just getting the upper hand on them again after the neighbors moved and they got hungry… I hope im not poisoning myself spraying every month. I was tempted to throw some in the landlords vehicle, but im sure he has them too, just not allegic like i am. Good news though, eventually you stop getting welts from them…

  6. Marcy angelo

    Dealing with the bugs fir over two years , it’s traumatic, thought I had head lice , I took samples to the dr she said a bed bug, everyone thinks I’m nuts , now I have a crusty spot on the crown of my head that I believe is a nesting area, I’ll pick the scab and tiny specs and gooey stuff shaped like a bed bug come from it, feels like my brain is being sucked on, so don’t let anyone tell you that you won’t find them in your scalp

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