Hairy People Better at Catching Bedbugs

Hairy People Better at Catching Bedbugs

Individuals with ample body hair are more adept at detecting bedbugs than those with less body hair.

Here’s some news that will make you think about throwing out your razor and giving up waxing. People with lots of body hair are better at detecting bedbugs than their less hirsute peers.

29 brave souls (10 females and 19 males) volunteered for the bedbug experiment and were rewarded by having one arm shaved and then having a bedbug unleashed on them. Tests were conducted on one arm and then on the other arm one week later. The volunteers, who had to look away when the bedbugs were placed on them, were given tally counters and instructed to use them every time they felt something on their arm.

According to Biology Letters, the tests revealed that bedbugs had a more difficult time locating a feeding site on hairy skin, which increased the chances of the bedbugs being noticed and then killed. It was also learned that a higher hair index led to increased detection of the bedbugs.

The results of the study also coincide with other findings that indicate cimicids (the bed, bat, and bird bugs) prefer to bite hairless sites on bats and the featherless areas of birds and that mosquito bites occur primarily on the relatively hairless underside of wrists and ankles. In other words, let nature take its course if you plan on spending some time in the great outdoors.

Reference: “Human fine body hair enhances ectoparasite detection” by Isabelle Dean and Michael T. Siva-Jothy, 14 December 2011, Biology Letters.
DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0987

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