Lice are one of the most horrible and embarrassing pests around. They are very common amongst young children as they are more likely to be playing outside in the sand and interacting at school. One does not need to be in close proximity in order to be infected with lice. One can contract head lice by simply borrowing another person’s hairbrush or sharing clothes.
A head louse is an ectoparasite which means that they live on the surface of the host, specifically the human scalp. They feed on tiny amounts of blood from the human scalp several times daily and they also lay their eggs on the base of the hair shaft. The eggs from lice are known as nits and are approximately 0.8mm by 0.3mm. They take about a week to hatch. When the egg hatches, it releases a nymph. The nymph matures after three molts which takes approximately 7 days. The adult louse is the size of a sesame seed and has six legs with claws on each in order to cling onto the persons scalp and hairs. The females lay up to 8 nits per day which is why lice spreads so quickly amongst people. Although lice aren’t vectors for disease, they cause a lot of discomfort. A single host can be infested by thousands of lice at a time so it is crucial to treat the problem as soon as possible.