Head Lice vs. Bed Bugs: What's the Difference?

Lice and bed bugs can be problematic in a home. Not only are these insects able to cause uncomfortable physical symptoms, but they are also very resilient, making them difficult to remove. By learning the differences between lice and bed bugs, a person will be able to not only identify the source of the troubles, but she will also be able to seek out the proper treatments and prevention methods. Pests don't have to be a part of life and they can be easily controlled once they are identified.

What Are Head Lice?

Many parents face problems with head lice in children. These small wingless oval bugs attach themselves to the hair in order to feed off of the host. Small and gray in color, these lice bugs can look like small grains of rice. These pests will not move much, but they will begin to lay eggs in the hair if they are not removed. These eggs can produce many more active lice, causing a difficult cycle of birth and infestation.

Head lice can be spread through contact, thus if one person itches their scalp and then touches someone else, the lice can travel to the new host. In addition, while most lice will be found on the heads of humans, it can also be found in other hairy parts of the body, including the pubic area. There are lice removing kits available at local drug stores and pharmacies, without a prescription needed. Not only will the treatment need to be applied, but remaining lice will need to be removed from the scalp with a comb. Finally, all sheets and other items which may have come into contact with the live will need to be washed thoroughly in order to stop the spread of head lice in a household.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small, reddish brown insects which also do not have wings. These bugs are visible to the naked eye, so detecting them in beds and other locations is not problematic. Bed bugs also feed on the blood of their host, biting them over and over to take the blood they need. As the bed bugs are more resistant to pesticide treatments these days, they have become more prevalent in homes, hotels and other residential areas. The main problem with bed bugs is that they can be difficult to remove from an area. Since these bugs will rapidly reproduce, they can infest an area quickly. Typical treatments can include washing the sheets and bed clothing in hot water, while also using a pest control service if an infestation is suspected.

Head lice and bed bugs can make a person itchy and uncomfortable. While the bugs are not associated with the transmission of disease, they are problematic and widespread. Teaching proper hygiene and taking curative steps as quickly as possible will help to prevent infestations. In addition, those who are staying in hotels may want to bring their own pillowcases and make sure their luggage is not stored on the floor where bed bugs can reach it.

Have specific questions?

All Article Categories

Before & After Photos

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions