Adult head lice are about the size of a sesame seed and are grayish white or tan in color. They have six claws and can latch onto the hair shaft. These lice are able to live for 30 days once they are attached to the head, but if they fall off they can survive for one or two days.
Head lice are spread from person to person and through clothing items. They often live on clothing stored in cloak rooms and on coat racks. Infected bedding, towels, and hair brushes are other common sources. While head lice can only survive for 24 hours outside their host, they can live for longer periods on clothes.
Head lice live on the surface of the scalp, so they tend to cluster near the scalp. These areas offer moisture, warmth, and food. These areas are also considered hotspots. The areas most susceptible to head lice infestation include the hair around the ears and the nape of the neck. Some parents have also noticed head lice hiding behind ponytails.
Unlike other types of lice, head lice are not contagious. These bugs live on the head for 35 days or more. Then they will lay their eggs at the base of hair strands. During this time, they will continue to feed on your blood several times a day. They will then start their second and third cycles.