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Where Does Lice Come From?

Where Does Lice Come From?
Updated on 
April 12, 2017

Where Does Head Lice Come From?

When you find head lice, you may ask yourself where do head lice come from? If you’ve only found nits (lice eggs) you definitely are wondering where do nits come from? Those are difficult questions to answer because as you go about your daily life, you are exposed to people who may have lice and not even know it. You may never know where your case of lice came from, but it would have started when either a pregnant louse, or two live bugs made their way to your head. If you just have eggs, then there was at one time one pregnant louse on your head. 

Where Does Lice Originate From?

There are various answers to the questions of where did lice come from and where do lice come from before humans. Historically, head lice have likely been around for thousands of years; nits have even been discovered on Egyptian mummies. If you are wondering where do lice come from when not on humans, it is unlikely that your case of head lice came from something other than human head to head contact, but there is a small possibility you may have gotten it from any number of places like a bus seat or trying on clothes at the mall, but at some point a live bug or two made their way onto your head.

How Is Lice Formed?

The short explanation to answer is that lice are formed when 2 adult lice of the opposite sex mate. Afterwards the female louse lays eggs on the strands of hair. After a week to 10 days these eggs will hatch and start the cycle over again. A detailed explanation can be found at LiceDoctors - How Can I Eradicate Bugs and Lice Eggs?

History of Head Lice

When considering how do lice start, the first major discovery of head lice in the western hemisphere was around 1100 AD on the hair of a mummy from Peru. In the United states, the first recorded case of head lice was in the 1800s in Wisconsin.

Historical Treatment of Head Lice

Since families in ancient Egypt and the wild west couldn’t just run to the store and grab a pesticide shampoo, how did they get rid of head lice in the old days? Interestingly, lice combs were found in the tombs of Egyptian mummies, and as time continued, lice were discovered in lice combs that were dug up from archaeological sites in Israel. This shows us that while many things have changed, the method of choice for eliminating head lice, combing, remains unchanged. 

Where Do Lice Live In Nature?

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If you’re wondering can you get lice from grass or where do lice live in the wild, the answer is simple. Lice do not live in the wild, especially not in grass. Lice feed three times a day from the blood on the human head and they need that blood plus the human head temperature in order to survive. Head lice only live off of the head for a day so you're unlikely to pick up a case this way as lice do not like to leave one person's head unless they have another head on which to go. Remember if you find yourself with a case of head lice, give us a call at 800-224-2537.

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