The common head louse is an actual insect. They look a bit like an ant but, of course, they are a lot smaller. The head louse only lives in the hair on the scalp of humans. Their life is not a long one… only a span of roughly six weeks.
Head lice rely on their human hosts for nesting and food. The eggs of the louse are laid very close to the scalp for needed natural warmth and are ingeniously glued on with a natural substance so the newly laid eggs will not fall away from the head… even with ordinary combing.
Head lice are parasitic so they feed on the human blood by biting into the skin on the scalp and sucking on the blood.
You may have heard of the term “nits” - this refers to the empty or dead eggs left in a person’s hair, not the actual incubating eggs or head lice themselves. The eggs themselves are very tiny – about the size of a grain of sand and they are ready to hatch in about 7 to 10 days.
The head lice are called nymphs from the moment they are born until they pass through different stages of metamorphoses, where they shed their exoskeleton and mature into an adult. This process takes about twelve days.
The female head louse is bigger than the male head louse and she can lay up to about 210 eggs in her lifetime. As you can see from these numbers, if you do not treat the condition as soon as it is found; then you will be in for a bigger battle and a sizeable infestation of head lice.
The only way to effectively remove the infestation and kill the life cycle of head lice is to remove all eggs, nymphs and head lice. If you miss any of the eggs, nymphs or lice left on the host… then the life cycle will continue.
Head lice can be fairly resistance to certain types of treatment. Even with chemical insecticides, if the treatment is not properly applied, the head lice can become immune thus forcing yet another treatment – Another reason you need to be sure you remove all trace of the insect the first time.
An alternative treatment to using chemicals is to use olive oil on the hair and a simple louse comb. A louse comb is a specially designed comb which with very fine teeth. This method, if done correctly, can remove the infestation. To get the full benefits of the treatment it is best to carry it out once a day for three or four days.