boy holding head lice sign

How Long Do Head Lice Live?

When you’re in the throes of treating head lice, it might seem like the stubborn pests are immortal. But the life span of head lice is actually not long at all, especially once removed from a human host. So how long do head lice actually live?

What Is the Life Cycle of Head Lice

Head lice are a common problem, especially in school aged children. Understanding their life cycle can help when it comes to treating head lice. The head lice life cycle has three stages: nit (egg), nymph and louse (adult).

Nits are head lice eggs that resemble tiny whitish or yellowish specks. They can be difficult to find and are sometimes mistaken for dandruff or dry scalp. The female louse lays these eggs closest to the scalp at the base of the hair shaft. Nits can take about a week to hatch.

Nymphs hatch from the nits and are usually a dull yellow in color. A nymph resembles an adult louse but is much smaller in size. A nymph is considered an adult about seven days after hatching from its egg.

Louses, or adult head lice, are about the size of a sesame seed and are tan to grayish in color. The females are usually larger than the males and can lay up to eight nits a day. A louse can live for up to 45 days.

How Long Do Lice Live?

Head lice are parasitic insects that require a human host to live off of. Lice can live for up to 45 days on the human scalp with blood as their nourishment.

Once adult head lice are removed from the human host, they won’t survive for more than 24-48 hours. The nits can’t survive off of the human host either, as they require the warmth from the scalp during incubation. They also need blood as soon as they hatch for nourishment.

This means that after treating head lice in your family, lice can’t survive on items in your home for more than a day or two. You’ll only need to treat items that have come in contact with the person treated for head lice in the last 48 hours. And since head lice can only live off of human blood, there’s no need to worry about your beloved pets.

What Is the Best Method for Treating Head Lice?

Treating head lice as soon as possible will stop the vicious cycle and make your life easier. Unfortunately, there are plenty of treatments on the market that are simply not effective. You also face the risk of exposing your family to harsh, toxic chemicals with typical over-the-counter remedies.

Fresh Heads Lice Treatment Centers are proud to treat head lice with non-toxic, safe and effective methods. Our FDA-cleared AirAllé treatment happens to be one of the most effective treatments available today. The treatment system utilizes heated air to essentially kill lice and nits through dehydration, and it’s revolutionized the way lice is treated. Schedule an appointment with one of our trained technicians today.


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