Life Cycle of Lice and Nits

Here are some facts on the lice life cycle: They are parasitic insects. They have no wings, a flat body and are about one tenth of an inch long.

Their six legs have claws that grab the hair and skin.They live on the human scalp, surviving by biting and sucking blood. In each of’ the human lice the life cycle starts with eggs which are cemented to-human hair, or even wig hair .

The 6 Stages of the Lice Life Cycle:

  1. Adult. An adult female louse lays up to 10 eggs a day for about a week. The eggs, called nits, are transparent and blend in with all colors of hair. 
  2. Egg. The eggs hatch in a week to 10 days. Most eggs hatch out in seven or eight days
  3. Young nymph. the resulting nymphs reach maturity in eight to 17 days, 
  4. Young Louse. The young louse, called a nymph, begins looking for blood. seek out a blood meal and start the cycle again by laying a new generation of eggs.
  5. Mature louse. After sucking blood it becomes a tiny red dot and molts about three times in the next nine days.
  6. Adult lice, which can live up to 30 days, begin forming family units after seven to 10 days, repeating the life cycle.

 Lice live by burrowing into the scalp near hair follicles for blood meals. Lice can live off the human body for about two days before dying. Then, if they don’t have that blood meal, they’ll die.

Each female head louse may lay from 50 to 150 eggs in its lifetime while the female body or crab louse may produce 200 or more.

There are three types of lice which prey on humans: they are

  • The head louse, 
  • The body louse or “cootie” of World War I fame,
  • And the crab louse

All of them depend on human blood for their survival. They can survive in anything from wigs, to undergarments in the case of body lice and to the hair of the pubic areas in the case of the crab louse.

Lice spend their life cycle on the host. The female lays from 30 to 35 eggs when they are about 12 days old, and these eggs (nits) cling to the hair and hatch in from 11 to 18 days. Head lice complete   their life cycle In approximately one month and new generations multiply   rapidly, over and over again at amazing rates.

Head and crab lice can be controlled by an insecticidal dust or shampoo registered for such use. Body lice can be controlled primarily by sanitation including frequent changes to properly laundered clothing.

Lice will crawl on an adult’s head, but children are more likely to get lice because they play closer together and share clothing. It is rare for black people to get head lice because the insect’s claws have not adapted to their curly hair patterns. They are exempt from the life cycle of lice and nits pests.