When an egg/nit hatches, it releases a nymph. The nit shell stays attached to the hair via the nit glue, the nit shell turns a dull yellow to white translucent color and may be mistaken for dandruff. The nymph (baby bug) looks like an adult louse but is smaller. As the nymph grows, it molts out of its exoskeleton 3 times before it becomes an adult within 7 to 9 days.
The female will lay eggs 3 to 6 eggs/nits a day that are and they will hatch within 7 to 11 days. If you see eggs, you have lice or had an egg laying female louse in your hair at one time.
The newly hatched nymph takes 8 to 9 days to become an adult; the age at which a female starts laying eggs. Most people find they have lice in the 3rd or 4th week of being infected.
Lice eggs need a perfect environment to survive (our heads) and if hatched off the head, they must feed quickly to survive. “In fact, head-to-head contact is usually required for them to spread”, says Harvard entomologist Richard Pollack, PhD, “and if they’re not on a head, they get dehydrated and die very quickly. “After about a day without a meal they starve to death,” says Pollack.
Mature lice and viable eggs (when it has a bug inside) usually appear tan or coffee colored. Eggs when empty (already hatched) and nymphs can be translucent or clear in color. Adult lice have six legs and are about the size of a sesame or strawberry seed. Lice cannot jump or fly; they simply crawl.
Their claw-like hooks on the end of each leg help the lice to stay attached to your hair. Lice prefer hiding in your hair at the base of your neck and around your ears. (These are called “hot spots”.) But in heavy cases you can find the in the crown, bangs or any other place on the head.
Although head lice may be embarrassing and occasionally uncomfortable, they are not known to cause significant illness. You can read more about the subject of disease and lice at the NPA (National Pediculosis Association)
Lice live on our heads not in our homes. They rarely fall off of our heads and if they do, where do they need to be? Back on our heads, so concentrate on the head and not the home. If you must do your cleaning it’s the high heat that kills the lice. Washing the bedding of the infected person and some light vacuuming will suffice. If you feel like going crazy cleaning, grab a professional nit comb instead and start combing! You can soak brushes in hot water 130° for 10 minutes or longer or many people prefer to put them in the dishwasher. Do you have hair accessories with glue on them? Put them in a plastic bag and in the freezer for 24 hours.
Classic symptoms of head lice include constant scalp itching and vigorous scratching. Many children complain of a sensation of something moving or crawling in the hair. The life expediency of a louse is from 3 to 6 weeks (from birth to death), depending on temperature, humidity and climate.
The adult louse feeds about 5 times a day by piercing the skin with its claws, injecting saliva, and sucking blood. The life cycle of the head louse has three stages: egg/nit, nymph, and the adult louse. During their lifetime, a female louse can lay up to 150 eggs at a rate of about 3-6 per day.