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Head Louse
(Extension, Purdue University)
Common Name: Head Louse

Order: Anoplura

Family: Pediculidae

Pest Status: Head lice are external parasites of people and are considered pests. They have increased in importance in recent years, due to the development of resistance to insecticides.

Appearance: Head lice are small, wingless insects that feed by sucking blood. They are normally cream colored but after a blood meal the mid gut area may appear dark red or black. They have unique legs, designed specifically for holding onto hair.

Life Cycle: Eggs are attached with a glue-like substance to the lower shaft of a hair. They require about one week to hatch and a month to complete development. Head lice are almost always found on the head and are particularly common in school age children. They are transmitted by sharing hats, brushes or simply head to head contact. Head lice are so closely adapted to their host that they cannot survive long way from their host.

Where to Collect: Head lice can only be found on people.