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How Do Head Lice Survive?

Lice and nits - what's the difference?

Updated on July 19, 2020

How Do Head Lice Live?

Head lice live solely on the scalp of humans where the conditions are optimal for their survival. Body temperature of about 86°F / 30°C, a humidity of about 90%, and human blood as their food source are what they seek to thrive. They have a component of their mouth through which they suck in blood from the scalp. The blood enters the mouth of the louse and then moves down to the intestines whereby the louse can extract the nutritional ingredients it needs to live. After digestion, the bug excrete tiny pellets in the form of feces, which you may pull out, upon combing through the hair.

How Do Head Lice Feed on the Scalp?

Head lice avail themselves of their food source, blood, at least six times daily which is why they do not like to leave the host and reside in the house. When the bug is ready to eat, it navigates around the scalp until it comes upon a desirable vein. It then dives partially through the skin injecting its mouth into the blood. At this point, the louse secrets saliva which facilitates the feeding process. It is the saliva which causes some humans to feel itchy. The louse has a two part pump in its head; you can view the feeding process in the below video. Because of the transparent quality of the head, you can watch the stream of blood flowing from the human scalp into the bug’s mouth and down to its intestines.

If you or a family member has head lice, reach out to LiceDoctors at 954-606-6473 and a qualified technician will come directly to your home to treat you. There is no need for lice to feed on the scalps of your family members. Let us get rid them!