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Head Lice Information: Facts and Fiction

Cross-street signs labeled TRUTH and LIE.

Updated on August 25, 2020

We hope that you find this head lice information helpful.

Lots of Mis-Information About Head Lice and Nits

There is much mis-information about head lice on the Internet. We at LiceDoctors Head Lice Removal Service have compiled a list of head lice facts and fiction that we have learned over our 20 plus years as lice professionals.


  • Head lice are wingless insects about the size of a sesame seed or smaller. They have six legs with tiny claws and live only on human scalps.
  • Head lice and nits range in color from light brown to dark brown. On the scalp, they appear translucent with a brownish tinge; when placed on a white background, they are brown.
  • Lice (bugs) are difficult to spot because they scoot away from the light.
  • Nits (eggs) are teardrop shaped—round on one end and pointy on the other.
  • Nits are glued to the hair shaft and have to be pulled off.
  • Both nits and lice tend to camouflage in the hair particularly in brunettes.
  • Lice are highly contagious and reproduce at a rate of 6-10 eggs per day per louse.
  • Each louse can live for 30 days and may leave  200 eggs in the hair over that time.
  • Head lice feed on human blood from the scalp up to 3 times daily and will die within 24-36 hours when off the head.
  • Unhatched nits are not contagious.
  • The incidence of lice and the severity of the individual cases have increased over the past several years due to  an increasing resistance among lice to the chemical shampoos/pesticides.
  • Today’s lice are so hearty/resistant as to be dubbed “super lice".
  • By far the most common way is head to head contact; within a family if one person has it the odds of another are over 70%


  • Lice jump, hop, and fly from head to head.
  • Lice like dirty hair.
  • Pets carry lice.
  • Just in case” chemical treatments are safe.
  • Chemical treatments work as advertised.
  • Lice carry disease.
  • Bedding, toys, and clothes should be bagged for 2 weeks.
  • Hot water and dryer in laundry will eradicate lice.


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