|Getting Rid of Lice Index|
- Detection with the best methods and treatment with the best products
- Info about Combs, Lotions, Liquids, Insecticides and Medication
- Facts and Information about types of louse?
- Prevention, Control, Treatment, Remedies and Medication for Dogs, Cats, Poultry and Humans
- Infestation in your home? Get effective control
- Pictures, Treatments, Facts and Info about their Life Cycle and how they infect us!
What is Head Lice?
If you are searching for 'what is head lice?' hopefully the below will detail everything you need to know. If not, please navigate back to our homepage where there is a lot more information! 'Head lice' refers to more than one 'head louse' (or Pediculus humanus capitis as they are scientifically classified). They are also commonly described as 'nits'. Nits are tiny, wingless ectoparasites that live and feed on the human head. Similarly to fleas, they bite the skin and draw blood to survive. Head lice are one of over 3000 species of louse (Order: Phthiraptera) and fall into the Anoplura Suborder (sucking lice). The head louse has a three stage life cycle, all of which take place on the human head, it is a worldwide problem (mainly in children) and unlike the body/pubic louse, it does not carry infectious diseases.
What color is Head Lice?
You may have heard people in the past say that head lice only infest dirty hair or those who are unhygienic? Well, we can confirm that they will infect any human head, clean or dirty as they are looking for a blood meal and then to multiply, so nobody is safe! Below we look at how you can catch head lice, how you can get rid of them and how you can prevent head lice, but firstly, to begin answering 'what is head lice' we could start by looking at their body. Head lice have no wings, so they cannot fly, they cannot jump or hop, they have special mouths designed for sucking blood, they have six legs with claws for clinging to their host, they range in size from 1-2mm and range in color from whitish grey to dark reddish brown. Please take a look at our Image of Lice page for a better understanding.
What is the life cycle of Head Lice?
Female adult head lice feed, mate and then lay their eggs. The eggs are attached to the base of hair shafts with sticky saliva/glue (saliva so sticky that everyday shampoos will not wash them off). Their eggs are positioned as close to the scalp as possible in cooler climates as this is the ideal environment for them to develop (warm and protected). However, in hotter climates around the world, you can find eggs placed inches away from the scalp proving that the temperature plays a very important part of the cycle. The head lice eggs will hatch into Nymphs (miniature versions of adults) who then go through further moulting before reaching adulthood. Therefore when checking for nits, you should be looking for eggs (also referred to as 'nits'), nymphs and adults. Live adult head lice confirm an infestation and need for treatment.