What Do Nits Look Like?

If you suspect a lice infestation, it is important to understand how to recognize head lice. Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that live on the human scalp. They are about as big as sesame seed (adults). They are blood suckers — just as mosquitoes are. However, unlike mosquitoes, lice cannot fly or jump from one person to another; they can only crawl (very quickly). You don’t typically see live lice crawling around the head. Live lice are difficult to detect with a visual inspection of the hair.

The first thing most people see are the empty nit or egg cases and they describe them as “tiny white specs that won’t move” similar looking to dandruff. The nits that are “white” in appearance are actually empty egg casings. Nits when they are laid and viable (have a bug inside of them) appear brown in color.


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A notable difference between lice eggs (nits) and dandruff is lice eggs are perfectly attached (glued) to only one side of a hair strand and appear to be tear drop shaped. People often say that head lice pictures on the internet don’t look like anything like the real thing. These head lice nit pictures are magnified so that you can see what the lice eggs also known as nits look like both in and out of the hair.

To the layman person nits and lice eggs are the same thing, in the scientific community lice eggs are viable (have a bug inside of them getting ready to hatch) and nits are empty egg casings. Whatever you want to call them – it’s best to remove them all & a difficult task to do on your own.