Updated on October 9, 2020
Updated By Karen Sokoloff
When dealing with a case of head lice, often people ponder things they do not normally think about as it pertains to head lice. If lice have made their home on your head, you likely wonder what do lice feed on.
Do Head Lice Eat Your Scalp?
Head lice live on the scalp and eat their meals on the human head, so it would be a reasonable assumption that head lice may feed on whatever is available in and around the scalp. However, if you are wondering if head lice snack on dandruff, or just the scalp in general the answer is no. Head lice do not eat your scalp. What do head lice eat?
Do Head Lice Eat Blood?
The human head is pretty simple, so if lice do not eat the scalp, and they do not eat hair, what else is there for them to eat? Do head lice feed on blood? Yes! As unpleasant as it is to think about, head lice rely on the blood that they get from the human head as their sole source of food. As soon as a louse crawls onto your head, it affixes itself to a strand of hair with its claws and climbs all the way up to the base of the strand of hair to the scalp. Once there it looks for a blood vessel and then pierces the skin to get blood. Do lice suck blood? Keep reading…
How Do Head Lice Feed?
Using its mouth, the louse sucks the blood, adding saliva to the puncture to prevent the blood from coagulating while the louse is having its meal. The louse takes in the blood through two small pumps in its head. Because the bug is translucent, you can see a thin path of blood being taken in through the mouth and into the stomach. This is why sometimes lice appear darker than at other times. The darker a louse is, the more recently it had its last meal.
Can Lice Feed On Different Blood Types?
Yes – lice can and do feed off of all different human blood types. Lice are not picky eaters. They can feed off of all of the different human blood types – positive, negative, a, b, o - they do not care and will not turn down a meal from any human host. While lice can and do feed off of all different human blood types, the kind of lice that infests a human head will only feed off of human blood. Human head lice is species specific – this means that the type of head lice that you and I can get will not infect any other species. There are different types of lice that infect animals, like dogs and cats. Those types of lice do not infect humans.
How Long Can Lice Live Without Blood?
Head lice need to feed multiple times in a day to survive. The average louse feeds between three and six times daily. So how long can lice live without feeding? Because they are in continual need of food, they do not often venture off of a person’s head unless there is another human head close by and readily accessible. This is why you will rarely find lice on a couch, bed, toy, pillow, back pack, scarf – you get the idea. Head lice need the warmth and food supply that only the human head can survive, so away from the head, without blood to eat, how long can lice go without eating? Head lice can only survive up to twenty four hours, or one day off of the human head.
If you have other questions about head lice, how they survive, who can get them, or any other question that comes to mind about head lice, check out our numerous blogs or call us. We are used to answering questions about head lice. Likely, you will find out everything you wanted, and did not want to know about lice here.
If you are one of the millions of families in the United States who encounter head lice each and year, professional, reliable help is only a phone call away. Call LiceDoctors at 800-224-2537 and an experienced lice technician will visit your home to eliminate the infestation in just one visit. We know families get head lice, and discover it often at the most inconvenient times, so LiceDoctors is available to help you get rid of lice seven days and nights a week; this even includes holidays! We understand that you want the head lice gone right away, so same day appointments are often available. Your technician will come to you and will bring everything she needs to treat everyone at the same time. The service is all natural, effective and safe for everyone. Even grandma and grandpa and your newest member of the family. Once treatment is complete, you are lice free, no longer contagious and you can get back to school, work, camp, sports or whatever your family enjoys doing. The treatment is 99.6% effective and comes backed by a thirty day guarantee to ensure your family’s head lice infestation is completely and totally eradicated. Call us at 800-224-2537 for lice help at your convenience.