Lice Lifecycle

The life cycle of lice from egg to adults
The life cycle of lice from egg to adults


Eggs are also called  nits are head lice eggs. They can be very hard to see. Nits can often be confused   for dandruff or dried hair spray droplets. Nits are laid by the adult female and are cemented at the base of the hair shaft nearest the scalp image . They are 0.8 mm by 0.3 mm, oval and can be  white to tan in color.  Nits take about 1 week to hatch, the range is  6 to 9 days. Viable eggs found on the hair shaft are usually located within 6 mm of the scalp.


When the egg hatches it releases a nymph or a young louse. Nymphs  are about the size of a pinhead, between 1.1 and 1.3 millimeters and are tan to  white in color. Nymphs mature into adult lice after three molts within about 9 to 12 days.

Male to Female Adult Louse


The adult louse don’t tend to grow larger than 2 millimeters, which is about the size of a sesame seed, female lice are larger than males. The adult louse  has 6 legs (each with claws), and is tan to grayish-white image . In persons with dark hair, the adult louse will appear darker. Females are usually larger than males and can lay up to 8 nits per day. Mature lice can live up to 3-4 weeks on a person’s head. To live, adult lice need to feed on blood several times daily. Without blood meals, the louse will die within 1 to 2 days off the host.