Bed Bugs vs. Lice

Are Those Lice or Bed Bugs?

As they're both small parasitic insects that feed on human blood, lice and bed bug infestations can seem similar. However, these pests require different methods of control. It's important to know whether the pest problem is caused by lice or bed bugs before coming up with a plan of action.

Keep the following in mind when differentiating between bed bugs vs. lice:

  • Size: Bed bugs tend to be bigger than lice, measuring about a quarter of an inch in length. In contrast, lice are smaller than an eighth of an inch long. Coloration is an important differentiator since bed bugs are brownish-red or mahogany colored, while lice are somewhat light whitish or gray in color.

  • Shape: While bed bugs have flat, oval bodies, lice are oblong.

  • Location: The most common type of home infesting lice, the head lice, lives on the human scalp. People often wonder, can bed bugs live in hair, too? Although the pests bite anywhere on the body, residents are less likely to find bed bugs in hair. Instead, a bed bug retreats to a hiding place, like the seam of a mattress, after it takes a blood meal, while head lice remain on their host unless dislodged by scratching the scalp or when removed by haircutting or trimming the scalp area.

Bed Bug vs. Lice Damage

Lice

The major difference between bed bugs and lice is how they affect people. Lice generally need blood every day or so to survive. These pests stay on their human host, causing itchiness and skin irritation shortly after they feed. Not only are people able to see adult and immature lice if they look closely, but they can also see the pests' small, light colored eggs stuck to strands of hair.

Bed Bugs

On the other hand, bed bugs usually feed for a few days before any sign of skin rash appears on those affected, although in some cases a rash may show up shortly after a bed bug takes a blood meal. It's unlikely that residents will even see, let alone feel bed bugs since they feed mostly at night and their bite usually goes unnoticed. Blood flecks or fecal matter stains on mattresses and sheets are often the first sign of infestation.

Removal

Whether the problem is lice or bed bugs, the result is always unpleasant and demands action. Several shampoo treatments are available for lice, but bed bug infestations are usually much harder for homeowners to control. To efficiently remove lice or bedbugs, contact the professionals at Orkin.

Resources

Protect Your Home from Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs in Pillows

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

Causes of a bed bug infestation. Hotel? Used Furniture?

Q

To my knowledge, bed bugs don't just disappear, which is what makes me think that they may be bat bugs or bird bugs. Help!

Bed bugs or rat mites?

Q

How do we tell if we have rat mites?

Brought home bed bugs from hotel

Q

I have a suspicion that I brought home bed bugs from a hotel I was in for work a week ago. I haven’t seen any “live” bugs crawling. I’ve looked everywhere. Do I need to have someone come and fumigate?

Bed bugs in the mattress

Q

My fiance and I were getting bitten on our legs a few months ago. I searched for bed bugs and tried flea traps but couldn’t find anything. Eventually it stopped, but I started getting bitten again a few nights ago.

What's the best/worst environment for bed bugs?

Q

What is the absolute worst case scenario for bedbugs?

Bed bug chemicals: how safe and how often?

Q

What types of chemicals does your company use to help control bed bugs? There is a cat and also a woman who is pregnant who lives downstairs that I am concerned about the interaction with these pesticides.

Are there over-the-counter treatments for bed bugs?

Q

What over-the-counter treatment I can buy to prevent and get rid of bugs?

Bed Bugs in Mattress Covers

Connect with Us

Our customer care team is available for you 24 hours a day.

877-819-5061

Find a Branch

Our local technicians are the pest experts in your area.

Get a Personalized Quote

We will help you find the right treatment plan for your home.

Home is where the bugs aren't™

SERVICES

Pest ControlTermite ControlPrevent and Protect

PEST LIBRARY

Browse All Pests

© 2021 Orkin LLC

Terms of UsePrivacyAccessibility StatementCareers