Pediculus humanus capitis
Adult head louse (Gilles San Martin, Wikimedia Commons)
Head Lice (Jim Occi, BugPics, Bugwood.org)
Head lice nits (Kosta Momcuoglu, Wikimedia Commons)
- adults: small, cream to rust-colored insects about the size of a sesame seed
- eggs (nits) resemble dandruff flakes both in appearance and size and are attached to hairs
- hold on to hair above ears and near neckline with clawlike legs
- spread by direct contact with infested persons or belongings
- feed by piercing skin with claws and sucking out blood
- bites result in small, red, itchy bumps on scalp and shoulders
- will die within 2 days if they are not on a host
- Perform inspections often, especially when other children are known to have lice.
- Encourage children NOT to share brushes, combs, hats, barrettes, towels and bedding.
- Clean carpets and furniture in classrooms frequently.
- Be aware of medical and privacy issues.
- Consult your school nurse.
- Pesticides are NOT recommended.
- Use a nit comb to remove lice and nits from hair.
Human Lice fact sheet
IPM for Head Lice: Integrated Pest Management in Sensitive Environments (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension)