If you’re concerned about head lice, you’ll want to know how long they live. These tiny insects start their life cycle as nits and lay their eggs in your hair. These nits are white or tan specks that feed several times a day. Adult lice live between three and four weeks, and don’t normally grow much larger than two millimeters. It’s important to understand the life cycle of head lice so you can plan your treatment and avoid an infestation.
Adult head lice can live up to 30 days on a human host, but they can only survive for two or three days without a host. In this time, they lay 3-5 eggs daily, which hatch seven to ten days after being laid. While louses can live for only a few days without a human host, they can lay eggs.
While head lice are not able to fly or jump, they can survive in water for eight hours. When they are removed from their host, head lice usually die within 48 hours. Their legs are adapted to crawl and grab onto hair. This constant scratching can lead to secondary infections. Lice eggs are white or cream in color, and are often the first signs of a head lice infestation.
It is important to note that while head lice cannot transmit a disease, they can cause severe itchiness in humans. The constant itching can even break skin on the scalp and lead to infections. The best way to get rid of head lice is to treat them early. Medicated products can help kill lice quickly, and can eliminate a lice infestation within two to three weeks.