Because of their small size, it can be quite difficult to feel these insects crawling on your skin. Your ability to feel them crawling on your skin will also matter on your skin’s sensitivity.
Bed bug saliva has a numbing quality that allows the bug to feed without the host noticing. The bite will usually start to itch long after the bed bug has already made its way back to safety.
Can you see bed bugs with your naked eye?
Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, so if you look real closely, it is definitely possible to see them with your naked eye. They can be confused for other insects and they are really good at hiding, but that does not mean that they are impossible to spot.
Looking for bed bugs after you wake up in the morning may be the worst time to try to spot them. Bed bugs adjust to your sleeping habits because they know that you move the least when you are asleep, hence they can feed much easier. If you work at night and sleep during the day, the bed bugs in your home know to wait for the daytime to feed. An infestation in its early stages is also difficult to catch.
Adult bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs can be visible to the naked eye especially if the infestation has been around for a while.
Adult bed bugs are easier to spot as they are the largest and have a darker reddish-brown color. Nymphs are trickier to find because they are smaller and have a paler color. Eggs are the most difficult to spot because they are only 1mm long and are clear to white in color. Another reason why they are difficult to spot is because female bed bugs choose to lay them in dark, secluded areas to keep them safe.
Can bed bugs hide in or around your body?
No, not usually. Bed bugs are known as hitchhikers but they prefer holding onto clothes or luggage as opposed to a person’s skin.
When bed bugs finish feeding, they usually make their way quickly back to their hiding spots.
People have the misconception that bed bugs are like other insects, such as lice or ticks, that live in a person’s hair or hang onto their skin, until they have to be forcefully removed with medicated shampoo or with tweezers.
Do bed bugs stay on your body?
People may have reasonable fears wherein they think that they are covered in bed bugs at night every time they sleep. But the truth is, bed bugs cannot and do not want to live on your body. After a blood meal, bed bugs are filled with blood and are quite noticeable if they decide to live on your skin in that state.
They would much rather go back to their hiding spots and spend the next couple of days digesting the blood they just ingested.
Can you feel bed bugs when you are awake?
Bed bugs are almost weightless, but if you can remember how it feels when an ant crawls on your skin, then you can roughly assume how a bed bug walking on your skin will feel.
When you are awake, you can most likely feel the bugs crawling on your skin. But this light sensation may not be enough for you to feel when you are asleep. They prefer to feed on you at night because they are less likely to be disturbed while feeding.
Certain parts of your body are also much more sensitive than others, such as your palms, where there is a higher chance you will feel it. Hairier parts of your body are also more sensitive to insects crawling across it, such as your arms and legs.
When you are awake, bed bugs will latch on to clothing or luggage and wait for you to cease moving before going anywhere near your skin.
Can bed bugs live in my hair or scalp?
Unlike ticks or lice, bed bugs like to feed on bare skin with as little hair as possible, to make feeding easier. These areas include the face, neck, arms, legs, and back.
Bed bugs can bite you on the head if you are bald, but otherwise, they are unlikely to target the scalp or anywhere else on the body with hair because it is more difficult to bite.
Bed bugs prefer cooler environments which means they are unlikely to stick around on a person’s body because it is warm. They would much rather feed then head back directly to their harborage for safety and to digest their meal.
The fact that bed bugs hide in hard to reach places is one of the reasons why they are so difficult to remove.
How do I know if I have bad bugs in my hair?
Bed bugs will not live in your hair in the way lice do, but they could bite you on your face around your hair.
Bed bug bites are painless because of the anesthetic effect of their saliva, but you may notice small red welts across your hairline or forehead.
Apart from being annoyingly itchy and noticeable, bed bug bites are not dangerous to your health, although there are rare cases where the person will develop an adverse reaction to the bites. Allergic reactions can manifest as difficulty breathing, severe swelling of the area of the bite, and hives.
Fortunately, bed bugs do not thrive on hair, so much so that if you notice bite marks near your hair, it is most probably due to a different type of pest.
Can bed bugs get in your ears?
It is possible but very unlikely for a bed bug to get in your ears. Bed bugs have no interest wandering inside a warm human body. They do not need to travel into more intimate areas because they have everything they need on the surface.
Bed bugs have special beaks that penetrate the skin and feed on your blood. Also, even though bed bugs are small, they are still a little too big to fit inside your ear canal.
Yes, you can feel bed bugs crawling on your skin especially when you are awake. It is similar to an ant crawling on your skin. You are less likely to feel a bed bug crawling on your skin when you are asleep because of how light a bed bug is.
Bed bugs crawling on your skin are more noticeable on more sensitive parts of your body such as your palms and soles. They are harder to notice in areas with hair.
Bed bug bites are barely noticeable because their saliva has an anesthetic quality, so you might not be able to tell you have been bitten until after a while when the numbing effect wears off.
Image: istockphoto.com / AndreyPopov