What are Lice?

Lice & Super Lice

Lice and super lice are the same type of tiny, wingless bloodsuckers! They both like to make their home in the hair on the scalp and tend to be found on children. Even though they both suck blood like mosquitos, they can’t fly—they can only crawl from person to person. The key difference is that super lice have become resistant to traditional lice treatments.
Magnified illustration of an egg
Magnified illustration of a louse

Lice Start As Eggs (or "Nits")

Lice eggs are laid by the female louse. They are about the size of a poppy seed and are challenging to see because their color blends in easily with hair. Lice eggs are laid near the root of the hair and are attached to the hair shaft with a glue-like substance that can’t be washed or blown away.

Nits are the empty eggshells left behind when lice hatch from eggs. Dandruff, sand, and flakes of hairspray are commonly mistaken for lice eggs or nits. Eggs and nits are not easily removed and must be carefully combed out with a fine-tooth comb.

Eggs and nits vary in color, from yellowish-brown to white. Since the hair grows, nits are usually found further away from the root of the hair.

For children: Many schools have a “No Nit Policy,” which means children who have had head lice are not readmitted to school until all the nits are gone. If you have seen live lice on your child’s head, it’s crucial to comb out eggs and nits as part of the lice treatment process. Lice treatment products should not be used if lice or nits have not been seen.

Children often get head lice from head-to-head contact with other children, but may
also get them by sharing personal items such as hats, combs, or headbands.

What makes super lice, super?

Super lice, like regular lice, are parasitic insects that can live in the scalp and feed on human blood. Due to a genetic mutation, super lice have developed resistance to common over-the-counter treatments to kill lice.

If you are unsure whether you have lice or super lice, the RID® SUPER MAX Complete Lice Elimination Kit can be used to kill and eliminate super lice and keep them away 24/7**

Life Cycle of Lice

Head lice live for approximately 40-50 days and go through 3 stages in their life cycle.

Egg Stage: The female louse lays the egg with a special glue that cements it to the hair shaft near the root. The lice egg develops and hatches approximately ten days later.

Nymph Stage: Once the louse hatches, it is called a nymph and is barely visible to the naked eye. The nymph cannot reproduce because it is not fully developed. After about 12 days, it becomes an adult.

Adult Stage: The female adult louse can lay up to 10 eggs per day, starting another lice generation. The adult stage lasts about 30 days. Lice do not live longer than two days if they are separated from the head.

*Based on laboratory combing study by trained testers

**with daily use of Daily Defense Shampoo

What are Pubic Lice and Body Lice?

Pubic lice and body lice are two other types of lice with unique characteristics.