Head Lice Life Cycle

Head Lice Stages

Head lice are human host parasites that live on the head of humans and only humans. They feed on the blood of the human scalp and they do not live on pets. They need to take a blood meal about every 2 to 3 hours. They crawl down off the hair shaft get onto the scalp of the head in and take a blood meal. There are three stages that lice go through in their 30 day or so lifetime. They start as eggs. The eggs need the warmth of the human scalp to nest on before they hatch. The eggs are often referred to as nits because the adult lice secretes a glue type substance to glue the lice eggs to the hair strand so they do not fall off before they hatch. Lice eggs hatch out in about five to seven days into a nympth stage. They go through three different stages of being a nymph until they become an adult.  Once they are adults, they are able to mate and lay eggs and start the cycle all over again.  As an adult, they lay about four to six eggs every day until they die. As adult lice they have six claws that they use to move around from strand to strand of the human hair.  They do not hop, jump, or fly. They only crawl from hair strand to hair strand. They are like trapeze artists. They can spread to another host scalp by head to head contact from a person that has lice to a person that doesn’t have lice.  The thing to know about lice is that if you don’t treat them or have them professionally removed or remove them yourself they will continue to live and breed for days, weeks, months, and potentially years.  It is important that you take care of your lice infestation and be checked by a professional to truly make sure you are lice free.