What are Head Lice?

Head lice are tiny, wingless parasitic insects that live on human hair and feed on small amounts of blood drawn from the scalp.

  • Nits (the eggs of the head louse) are small yellowish-white, oval shaped eggs that are “glued” at an angle near the base of a hair shaft.
  • Nits must be laid by live lice. You cannot “catch nits.”
  • It takes 7-10 days for a nit to hatch and another 7-10 days for the female to begin laying her own eggs.
  • Head lice live for about 30 days on the host and a female louse may lay up to 100 nits.

Having head lice is very common, especially amongst kids ages three to 12 years of age, and although they are an annoyance for parents, they are not dangerous and do not spread diseases. However, head lice are very contagious and can spread easily.