The Head Lice Life Cycle (And How You Can Beat It)
4 min read
If you’ve got a child who attends daycare or school, you may have come into contact with the dreaded head lice.
These tiny little critters have the potential to turn an enjoyable evening on the couch into one filled with seemingly endless combing in a matter of minutes.
While you may be familiar with the itchy sensation these creepy crawlies cause, do you know your lice from your nits?
Read on to discover the ins-and-outs of the head lice life cycle.
Head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) are tiny little parasites that have evolved alongside humans to the point that they now exclusively feed on us.
They are six-legged and the size of a sesame seed. Found on the head, they cling to the hair shaft and feed off of blood on the scalp. Thus the biting, itching, scratching sensation that can be so maddening.
Contrary to popular belief, lice don’t have the capability to jump and can only be spread by close human contact.
The head lice life cycle is relatively fast-moving, with lice breeding at a quick pace. So, interrupting the reproduction cycle (which typically lasts 35 days) is key to breaking the infestation.
Your child bumps scalps, shares a hat or comes into contact with another child experiencing head lice.
The critters jump ship and a female adult lays eggs in your little one’s hair. Eggs are laid close to the scalp and the incubation process occurs. The head lice egg is called the nit.
After six or seven days of incubation, the young louse hatches and begins feeding.
The first moulting occurs and the louse grows in strength and maturity.
This is when the louse has reached maturity and is now ready to mate. The female is slightly larger than the male, due to egg production. The female can produce up to 120 eggs in each cycle.
After mating and egg-laying the adult lice die and the cycle begins anew with fresh eggs laid.
So there you have it, knowing the head lice life cycle may help you stop it in its tracks. If your child does come home with a case of the creepy crawlies you may be looking for a treatment that kills the creepy crawlies quickly and easily.
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