The most common species are Pediculus humanus capitis (head louse), Pediculus humanus corporis (body louse – spread to humans by body-to-body contact since they cannot jump or fly), and Phthirus pubis (pubic or crab louse).
Lice infestation is the result of an insect parasite that feeds on its host’s blood. Lice infestation is found in all parts of the world. Infestations are most common in children aged 3–12 years because of their play activities and close contact with each other.
LICE, EGGS, AND NITS
Adult lice are about 2 mm long (1/16th inch) – the size of a sesame seed. They have 6 legs, each with hooked claws that help them to grasp and hold tightly onto hairs or feathers. Males are usually larger than females and can be distinguished from them by looking at the distance between their eyes — it is narrow in males and wide in females. Because lice spend most of their time on the human body, they are rarely seen.
Lice lay oval-shaped eggs (nits), which are firmly attached to the base of hairs near the skin with a cement-like substance that also comes from their salivary glands. They usually hatch seven to ten days later. Newly hatched lice look like small translucent worms and eventually mature into the grayish-white, eight-legged adult louse. Nits may take about three weeks to hatch after being laid by an adult female louse.
Lice live close to the scalp and can be found on any type of hair as long as it is thick enough to support them. They must have a steady supply of blood in order to survive, so they move quickly through the hair searching for capillaries close to the skin’s surface. Lice are most commonly spread by direct head-to-head or hair-to-hair contact with an infected person. They can also be spread by using personal items, such as hats and combs, that have been used by someone who is already infected.
Itching of the scalp can occur several weeks after lice have become established on the head because of their saliva, which irritates the skin and causes dandruff. Sensitive people may notice stinging or an unpleasant burning sensation on their scalp when lice are present. The main symptom of lice infestation is itchiness. Diagnosis can be done by looking for nits, especially behind the ears and near the hairline at the back of the neck. Lice are not a serious threat to one’s health. They do not spread disease and they cannot fly or jump. However, their bites can be very itchy, causing the person who is infested with them to scratch and damage his or her scalp.
If you find any Lice in your Charlotte County home, contact Bug Off Pest Charlotte immediately. We can help rid you of these lice problem and help you get your life back to normal! As always, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about Lice or any other pest. Call us today 941-676-2005