Common Name: Lice – Head louse
Latin Name: Pediculus capitus
Common Family Name: Sucking Lice
Latin Family Name: Anoplura
Other Names: Nits (the eggs)
Hydrex Treatment for Head Lice
Characteristics Important in Control:Control of head lice is not an area a pest control technician needs to be involved in. It is a physician’s role by prescribing the use of pesticidal shampoos, and the PCO should strongly resist the demand to apply a pesticide to the premises. The lice die within a day or two off the human host, and will not be found wandering on carpets or furnishings.
Please contact your physician.
Origin: Not mentioned in the literature, but this human parasite is found worldwide and has traveled with humans throughout our history. Head lice have been found in prehistoric mummies.
Biology: Head lice are extremely similar to the related body louse, but differ in their habits. They generally restrict themselves to the hair on the head and their eggs are laid attached to the hairs. Head lice are not known to vector any diseases and they do little physical harm, but may cause sensitivity of the scalp and are socially embarrassing. Female lice lay about 100 eggs over several weeks, and growth from egg to adult is less than 3 weeks. Lice cannot jump or fly, and they are transmitted from person to person only by physical contact or sharing of clothing.
Identification: Head and body lice cannot be distinguished by their appearance alone, but by the body area they infest and the presence of eggs on hair or clothing. Head louse eggs are tiny, white, and glued to a hair by a cement sheath around the hair. The lice are only 2 to 3 mm long and are dirty-white to grayish in color. They have small heads and large, oval abdomens. Their 6 legs are long and tipped with sharp spine-like claws.