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Lice Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from lice by learning techniques for identification and control.

Lice illustration
Family Pediculidae


Types of Lice

What do lice look like?

Adult lice are 2 to 4.2 mm long. These insects are whitish to gray in color. Lice have hooklike claws at the end of their legs, are wingless, and have a flattened look.

Human Head Lice

Human Head Lice

Pediculus humanus capitis

Bird Lice

Bird Lice


How do I get rid of lice?

What You Can Do

Getting rid of head lice can be done at home with the use of a nit comb. Body lice can be addressed by thorough body washing. All clothing and bed linens should be washed in hot cycles.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Lice

Kinds of Lice

Lice are parasites that prey on mammalian and avian orders. There are several species, with only some that rely on human hosts. There are three kinds of lice that infest people:

  • Body

  • Crab

  • Head

Head Lice

Head lice are the most common of human infestations and do not indicate a lack of cleanliness. These pests can be present in short or long hair, though they do require some hair. They are often found in the following areas:

  • Base of necks

  • Behind ears

  • Near hairlines

Body Lice

These pests resemble head lice, though they make their homes in clothing rather than on the scalp. They are not as common, since people usually do not wear the same clothing continuously for days at a time or without washing it. In the United States, actual infestation with body parasites tends to occur only in homeless, transient persons who do not have access to regular bathing and changes of clean clothes.

Bird Lice

Bird lice do not harm humans, but bird handlers may occasionally be bitten.


Reproduction and development vary depending on their species. Head lice eggs, known as nits, thus the term “nit-picking,” are attached to a host’s hair with specialized saliva. Females produce 50 to 100 round, white eggs which they secure to a person’s scalp. Body lice lay up to 200 eggs which they usually deposit in a person’s clothing.

More Information

Bird Lice

Can Adults Get Lice?

Can You See Lice?

How Long Can Lice Live?

Human Head Lice

Lice Bites

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