Head Lice - School IPM - USU Extension

    Head Lice

    Pediculus humanus capitis

    head lice

    Adult head louse (Gilles San Martin, Wikimedia Commons)

    head lice

    Head Lice (Jim Occi, BugPics, Bugwood.org)

    head lice

    Head lice nits (Kosta Momcuoglu, Wikimedia Commons)


    • adults: small, cream to rust-colored insects about the size of a sesame seed
    • eggs (nits) resemble dandruff flakes both in appearance and size and are attached to hairs

    Nesting Habits

    • hold on to hair above ears and near neckline with clawlike legs
    • spread by direct contact with infested persons or belongings


    • feed by piercing skin with claws and sucking out blood


    • bites result in small, red, itchy bumps on scalp and shoulders
    • will die within 2 days if they are not on a host

    IPM Recommendations

    • Perform inspections often, especially when other children are known to have lice.
    • Encourage children NOT to share brushes, combs, hats, barrettes, towels and bedding.
    • Clean carpets and furniture in classrooms frequently.
    • Be aware of medical and privacy issues.
    • Consult your school nurse.
    • Pesticides are NOT recommended.
    • Use a nit comb to remove lice and nits from hair.

    Additional Resources:

    Human Lice fact sheet

    IPM for Head Lice: Integrated Pest Management in Sensitive Environments (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension)