Unwanted Body Hair Blocks Bedbug Bites?
A friend of mine recently returned from a month long vacation to the Northwest where he encountered a large number of bedbugs along the seam between the room's TV table and the wall. Luckily he managed to avoid getting bitten.
My friend also has lots of hair. In fact, the hair on his head extends down to his knees.
I always wondered why he managed to avoid getting a single bite. The mystery may be solved.
The BBC headline today is “Hairy Limbs Keep Bed Bugs At Bay,” and it cites a Sheffield University study published in the journal Biology Letters.
The study says “Hungry bugs placed on shaved arms were more likely to try to feed compared with those on un-shaved arms.”
The study also said “Researchers say the hair slows down the bed bugs and warns the victim.”
Is it true that the more hair you have on your body the better? Sheffield Prof. Michael Siva-Jothy doesn't totally agree with the Sheffield study. He notes that even though men are naturally hairier than women, they do not appear to be bitten less often.
Professor Siva-Jothy suggested this pointed to an evolutionary battle between bed bugs and their prey, with the insects adapting to automatically head for relatively hairless bits of the body, such as wrists and ankles.
He added that extreme hairiness might also be more of a disadvantage than an advantage. “If you have a heavy coat of long thick hairs it is easier for parasites to hide, even if you can detect them."
Maybe my friend was just lucky to escape his bedbug encounter without a single bite.
Of course he took lots of precautions such as leaving his bags and clothes in the bathroom in the bathtub, slept with the light on and doused his body with Ylang Ylang oil.
Did any of those things help prevent bites or was it just good luck? Hard to say but I certainly wouldn't want to test out my long hair against a swarm of hungry bed bugs.Would you?
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