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Bed Bugs vs Lice: What's The Difference?

Bed Bugs vs Lice: What's The Difference?
Created on 
March 27, 2017
Updated on 
August 14, 2020

Lice and bed bugs are both biting infestations, so they’re often confused. Treatment is majorly different, so it’s important to know if you have head lice vs bed bugs. But how do you tell the difference between lice and bed bugs?

WHAT ARE BED BUGS? 

You’d have to look in furniture or where a human sleeps to find a bed bug vs lice which are found only on the head. These tiny insects live in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, couches, etc. They bite humans, leaving itchy bug bites. They’re transmitted through clothing, luggage, and used furniture.

WHAT ARE LICE?

lice tips lice life cycle nit nymph louse bug

Head lice are parasites that live their entire lifecycle in human head hair. They’re transmitted from direct contact, like hugging. They also bite, but the itchy bites will be limited to very near the scalp. By the time itching starts, nits should be visible on the head hair.

HOW DO BED BUGS LOOK LIKE?

lice tips lice life cycle nit nymph louse bug

Adult bed bugs are brownish to reddish, with a flat, oval-shaped body the size of an apple seed that expands after feeding. When you compare pictures of lice and bed bugs, the baby bed bugs, or nymphs, almost look like lice in that they’re translucent and tiny.

HOW DO LICE LOOK LIKE?

lice tips adult head louse bed bug

Head lice are translucent, but may look brown because you can see the blood inside them after feeding. Because adult lice look a lot like baby bed bugs, the main way to tell the difference between bedbugs and lice is to analyze their location and other symptoms, like nits.

SYMPTOMS OF BED BUGS BITES

Signs of bed bugs

Signs of bed bugs include:

  • Bug bites anywhere on the body, especially in a string-of-pearls pattern and often on the arms and legs;
  • Brown debris or stains on the sheets, or in the seams of mattresses and other furniture;
  • Musty odors. 

To prevent bed bugs, be alert when traveling. Appropriate professional treatment is necessary; bed bugs never go away on their own and can live a long time without feeding on a person.

SYMPTOMS OF LICE BITES

Symptoms of lice bites

Signs of head lice vs bed bugs are very different. To determine whether you’re dealing with lice or bed bugs, it’s all about location:

  • Ticklish feeling of movement on the scalp, worse at night, leading to insomnia and irritability;
  • Itchy sores or rash ONLY on or near the scalp, and nowhere else;
  • Tiny, translucent, firm eggs glued to the hairs near the scalp that don’t come off easily.

HOW TO PREVENT LICE

Head lice are best prevented by avoiding head-to-head contact with an infested person. However, since lice are contagious for weeks before itching starts, it’s hard to tell who is infested until it’s too late. Wear hairstyles that keep hair off of others, use products that coat the hair, and use a repellent like LiceDoctors lice repellent spray.

LICE TREATMENT

Successful eradication of head lice only involves a few steps: 

  • Oiling the hair to immobilize the bugs, loosen the eggs, and lubricate the hair;
  • Wet-combing then hand-picking each section until all bugs and nits are removed;
  • Protecting the hair to avoid recurrence.

It’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Eradicating lice is a lot of work, it is totally understandable if you need some assistance.

NEED TO GET RID OF LICE? CALL US!

Unlike bed bugs, an exterminator won’t help with lice. But professional help is still available! We are the experts at getting rid of head lice. LiceDoctors treatment is safe, effective, and guaranteed. Call us at 800-224-2537.

We provide a friendly in-home lice removal service

Book your appointment today

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