Expert Answer

Q: This bug was found on the bed sheet. Can you help us identify it?


Andi , Calfornia

Andi, this is a great picture! This is a head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis), and the image is a good representation of what lice look like. This time of year we can see an increase because of the wearing of hats for the cold weather. According to the University of California IPM, Head lice are not known to transmit any infectious diseases from person to person. They are more of a nuisance than a health risk problem. It is very important that the methods used to control a head louse infestation not cause more of a problem than the head lice themselves. The link here is a very informative one to give your customers so they have the education they need to manage the problem. There is really nothing we as pest professionals can do to manage head lice. 

What do lice eggs look like, the head lice lifecycle and more!

Visit the "Managing head lice" article below, courtesy of UCANR IPM. It visits head lice management in around the home, remedies for lice and other topics, including:

  • What do lice eggs look like in hair? (Louse eggs (nits) normally attach to hair shafts, see figure 1 in article
  • the head lice life cycle (on average about 25 days, from egg to adult)
  • what hair do lice prefer (hair that is round in cross-section shape, for lice in the United States)
  • common symptoms of head lice (intense itching on the back of the head or neck, white lice eggs in hair)
  • whether head lice carry disease 
  • four critical steps for controlling head lice (including daily/weekly head checks to check for lice reinfestation)
  • best practices for using lice shampoo (including using pyrethrin or permethrin lice shampoo, coconut oil shampoo or olive oil for lice and nits)
  • tools needed to remove lice from hair (including using a metal comb or licemeister comb)
  • home remedies of lice removal (including using heat and freezing techniques to kill lice)
  • finding and tracing the source of head lice (contacting other children that are known to have gotten lice from a lice infestation at school)


Managing Head Lice - integrated pest management in and around the Home