lice

Lice: A Common Infestation

A type of wingless parasitic insect, lice are scavengers that feed on the sebaceous secretions, blood, skin, or other type of debris found on their host’s body. Approximately three species of lice affect humans, but animals can host up to fifteen various lice species. Typically, mammals host up to three species of lice while birds host up to six. It is estimated that millions of people are infected by lice infestations, which makes lice a very common problem. Occasionally, lice have caused illnesses such as typhus and trench fever. In most cases, lice are simply embarrassing and annoying. Their bites may cause the affected area to itch, which can lead to persistent scratching. Persistent scratching can cause the skin to become irritated or inflamed, which may lead to infection. Properly identifying lice and treating their infestation immediately will be keys to controlling these troublesome parasites.

How to Identify Lice

Lice are quite small, usually less than 10 millimetres in length. Most will vary in length from 2.0 millimetres to 3.7 millimetres. For this reason, they may be difficult to identify without the aid of a magnifying glass. Using a microscope or magnifying glass, lice can be recognized by their colourless, flattened bodies and short antennae with no more than 5 segments. A louse’s head will be more narrow than its thorax, and a louse’s thoracic segments will be fused. This means that the various thoracic segments cannot move independently from the louse’s abdomen. Lice have either biting or sucking mouthparts and the last section of a louse’s leg will be hooked. This makes it easier for the louse to grip and stay attached to their host. A female louse will be slightly larger than her male counterpart.

Lifecycle of Lice

The gradual metamorphosis of a louse occurs during three life cycles: egg, nymph, and adult. The entire lifespan of a louse lasts anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks. Female lice can lay about 6 eggs per day, and the eggs will be attached directly to the hairs of the host. The eggs are attached with an extremely sticky liquid, which can make the eggs (nits) difficult to remove without specially formulated products. A pest inspection in Brisbane can help individuals determine if they have a lice infestation.

Treatment Methods

Good hygiene and the isolation of infected hosts will be important. Furthermore, specialized chemical treatments will be necessary to rid the host of the lice infestation. Scalp rinses are effective at killing adult lice, while lice eggs will have to be physically combed from the host’s hair. To purchase products such as these, individuals may need to contact a pest control Brisbane company.