How Long Can Lice Live Without a Host?

How Long Can Lice Live Without a Host?

There are a few different types of lice but the one that most of us are familiar with, pediculus humanus capitis, is what is more commonly referred to as head lice. These tiny critters are parasitic insects that live in the hair and on the scalp of humans. 

Head lice feed on human blood several times a day and rely on a host for survival and reproduction. The lice live close to the warm scalp to help regulate their body temperature, and they attach their eggs, called nits, to the roots of the hair. But what happens when these parasites leave the host? After all, they have to spread somehow. The answer may surprise you. 

Common Misconceptions of Lice

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding lice lifespan and the way that lice get from head-to-head. Some people think the bugs jump straight from scalp to scalp, and others insist that they reside in thrift store hats, waiting to victimize the next person that tries on the headcover. As it turns out, neither of these scenarios play out in real life. The only way for these lice to travel is through direct head-to-head contact. These parasites are extremely dependent on a host and cannot live anywhere else. That being said, if they were forced to abandon a host, how long can the head lice survive?

Lice Lifespan Without a Host

The exact answer varies depending on temperature, but the simple answer is about one day. Under everyday conditions, this time is shortened. Lice are uniquely adapted to live in the human hair, so they generally do not like leaving the environment that they have created. Nits on the other hand can live for up to 10 days host free, but once hatched, they die quickly with no host to feed off of. If you are concerned that head lice may have found a nesting spot somewhere in your home, you can rest easy. There is a low chance that the lice would ever make their way out of your hair, and an even lower chance that they would live long enough to find a new host. 

Fresh Heads Lice Removal in Orlando, FL 

Fresh Heads Lice Removal in Orlando, FL is an award-winning, science-based treatment center. Here at Fresh Heads, we provide a same-day, chemical-free head lice treatment. If you want to know more about head lice, or you are interested in booking an appointment in the Jacksonville, FL, Orlando, FL, or Savannah, GA area, click the link here

Schools Without Lice.

Schools Without Lice

At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, our mission is to get rid of lice in schools across the United States. We’ve partnered with the Lice Clinics of America to create the Schools Without Lice program. Through this program, we provide school nurses and teachers with free screenings, resources, and treatments. Together, we can have schools without lice!