Lice, intriguing creatures with a long history of troubling humans, have prompted the question: do they possess wings? It is reasonable to ask if lice have wings, as wings would undoubtedly complicate the task of eliminating these minuscule parasites. Surprisingly, lice do not have wings. However, this absence of wings does not diminish their ability to infest both the scalp and hair. So, don't breathe a sigh of relief just yet. While we would all like to avoid lice, despite their wingless state, lice exhibit remarkable proficiency in infesting the scalp and hair and surviving by feeding on people's blood. Keep in mind that lice are very small, about the size of sesame seeds, as are their eggs, so it is hard for families to get rid of lice on their own. If you find yourself grappling with a lice infestation, seeking professional lice treatment services is essential for complete eradication. In this blog, we delve into the intricacies of lice biology, unveiling their distinctive adaptations and gaining insight into how they thrive in their host environments.
Can Lice Jump?
Considering how easily a case is spread, one might assume that the lice jump substantial distances from one head to another, especially in a classroom or camp setting where transmission is swift. However, it may come as a surprise that although their hind legs are strong, lice do not possess the ability to leap, so you will never see lice jump from one person's hair to another person's hair. Nevertheless, caution is warranted, as although lice lack jumping capabilities, they exhibit remarkable speed in movement. When lice embark on infesting a new host, they don't leisurely wander; instead, they are resolute in reaching their destination quickly, employing their adept traveling methods.
Lice navigate through hair with agility, moving from head-to-head within mere seconds. Leveraging their claws, they securely grasp strands of hair, facilitating rapid movement from one strand to another without the risk of falling off. All it takes is one of their tiny claws seizing a strand of your hair, and soon thereafter, a complete head lice infestation may ensue. Even though you won't see lice fly or jump, they are very mobile insects.
As a novice in lice treatment, you may find that you see the nits (lice eggs) in the hair, but cannot find any live head lice. The reasons for this are that either the lice that started the infestation are long gone, having moved to someone else's head to feed on human blood there, leaving behind many nits OR they are still crawling around the human head but they move so quickly that they are hard for the untrained eye to see.
Can Lice Fly?
Due to their physiological structure, head lice cannot fly or jump from head to head. They do not have wings and because they have strong hind legs, they do not need wings to move from head to head. Many people fear that if their child sits in a classroom, they will come home infested with lice that fly or jump. This is not the case. The only way to catch a case of head lice is to be in very close contact with a child's hair that is infested so that the lice have the opportunity to crawl from the infested child to your child's hair. Putting some kind of coating on the hair such as a lice repellant or spray, or mousse, will help to repel lice and avoid lice infestations.
How Lice Move and Spread Head to Head
The transmission of head lice typically occurs through direct physical contact with one or two live adult female lice, often facilitated by head-to-head contact. Activities such as children hugging, wrestling on the playground, or sitting closely together while watching TV or playing games can be innocuous under normal circumstances. However, these seemingly harmless interactions can pose a risk if one of the involved children has head lice, even if they exhibit no symptoms.
Contemporary head lice strains are largely resistant to common over-the-counter lice treatment, and these treatments have historically been ineffective against the eggs. With the diminishing efficacy of over-the-counter solutions, lice spread is on the rise and it is more difficult to get your family lice free on your own. Given the challenges associated with treatments, the most effective approach is to proactively minimize exposure to head lice in the first place, which is not easy to do, given the prevalence of these tiny insects.
How Lice Spreads on Inanimate Objects
The chances of transmitting head lice through personal items like combs, clothing, stuffed animals, or from furniture are significantly lower. Head lice have a limited off-host survival period, lasting around 24 hours; lice live on the head and die off outside the human head. If a head louse happens to be on an inanimate object, it will perish without access to human blood. These tiny insects are parasites that feed from the blood in the human head multiple times daily. Without their nourishment, the head lice will die. The only way to get lice from an inanimate object is if live lice decide to move to the object and you pick up that object or sit on that chair a short time after the bugs have arrived there. This is unlikely, hence, lice are generally spread when the hair of two heads are close together.
Why Do Head Lice Spread?
Head lice are highly contagious, especially in cases where an individual has harbored them for an extended period, resulting in a significant infestation.
Having existed for thousands of years, lice have sustained themselves by traveling from one head to a new head during close contact. Placing a child with lice in proximity to an infested child increases the likelihood that at least one louse from the infested child will transfer to the other child's head. In instances of severe infestation, where the hair is densely populated with nits, lice seek alternative hosts to feed on blood. When a nearby human scalp becomes available and presumably less congested, adult lice crawl up the hair shaft to relocate. A non-infested head offers reduced competition for feeding spots, making it an attractive destination for the newly arrived lice.
Contact Us Right Away if You Find Lice
When lice are found on the human head, the instinct may be to try to get rid of them on your own with chemicals. We do not recommend this path of lice treatment as the bugs have mutated and are not easily killed with this kind of treatment. You also will not get rid of lice eggs with chemicals as the nits have a shell that cannot be penetrated.
As we have said, the answers to “do lice fly?” or “do lice jump?” are no, but lice are still very contagious, despite not having wings to allow them to fly or legs that facilitate jumping into the hair. Even though these small insects cannot fly to another human host, they can move very quicky with their hind legs. As soon as lice decide to move to a new head, they start to feed on people's blood and begin to lay eggs that are the size of a sesame seed. The case will then expand quickly.
The best course of treatment for lice on your hair or your child's hair is to call LiceDoctors. We have knowledgeable people available day and night to answer questions and to send a technician to your home for private, safe, and effective lice treatment on your schedule. Lice technicians are available in your area to get rid of the lice problem on every person in your household. Call for lice removal service today.