“Bug Blog on Lice”

“Bug Blog on Lice”



Feeling “Lousy”?  If you are experiencing “lice” or “super lice” – no worries!  We can help!

The following “Bug Blog” is on Lice.

A Bit of Interesting History and Facts of Lice:

  • The head louse (Pediculus humanus capitas), The body louse (Pediculus humanus humanus) and the crab louse (Pthirus pubis) all three can occur on humans.  All three cause considerable skin irritation as they feed on human blood or crawl on the body.
  • Typhus, impetigo, trench fever and relapsing fever have all been transmitted by body and head lice. Scratching can lead to secondary bacterial infections leaving children feeling achy, feverish and/or lethargic.
  • Human lice can establish and maintain themselves only on humans.
  • A louse cannot hop or jump. They can, however, crawl rather quickly.
  • They are usually transmitted only through close personal contact. They are less frequently transmitted through the sharing of personal articles or toilet seats. For head lice, this includes combs, brushes and other grooming aids, hats, headbands, helmets, caps, headrests, wigs, curlers or other headgear, especially when these items are stored in shared lockers.
  • They live by biting and sucking blood from the scalp and can survive for up to 48 hours off a human head, and the nits on a hair shaft can survive from 4 – 10 days – so vacuum thoroughly and/or spray/clean with diluted enzyme cleaners or peppermint soaps.
  • Head lice infestations have been a problem a long time – Pliny, a Greek naturalist (23-79 AD) suggested bathing in viper broth. Montezuma paid people to pick nits off his subjects, dried them and then saved them in his treasury. W. Coles in his 1657 book Adam in Eden: or Nature’s Paradise noted that the oil from hyssop (Hyssopus) “killeth lice.” Nicholas Culpeper in his 1681 The English Physician Enlarged recommended tobacco juice to kill lice on children’s heads, a very early reference to the use of tobacco as an insecticide poison. Medical historians trace head lice infestations back 9,000 years!
  • In the U. S. head lice are not “known” to spread disease or cause serious injury – they are only considered to be “repugnant”.

Lice Maintenance:

  1. Lice can not survive off of the body of the host for very long – lice are unlikely to inhabit clothing / linens.
  2. Thoroughly vacuum each room daily wherever lice have been a problem. Spray carpets and mop floors with Safe Solutions TweetMint Enzyme Cleaner (1 oz. per quart of water), or with Safe Solutions Not Nice to Bugs®. If necessary, spray furniture, bed and linens too.
  3. Vacuum the infested areas thoroughly daily. If you are dry-vacuuming live lice, add a small amount of Safe Solutions Food-Grade DE, talcum or medicated body powder to the dry vacuum first. If you are wet-vacuuming live lice, add a small amount of Safe Solutions TweetMint Enzyme Cleaner or liquid detergent to the wet-vacuum first.
  4. Assign each student his/her own locker or coat hook. Do not allow children’s garments to intermingle.
  5. Download and print a copy of Chapter 16 Lice & Scabies for parents and teachers to read.

Lice Treatment:

  1. Safe Solutions Lice R Gone® nontoxic shampoo removes lice and nits on contact – guaranteed effective. Pesticide-free, pH balanced, hypoallergenic and biodegradable. An 8 oz. bottle contains 16 uses – enough for families, repeat cases and follow-up prevention. Also available in convenient single-use packets. Safe for all ages. FDA registered. Visit the official Lice R Gone® website.
  2. If you have trouble removing nits or previously used pediculicide treatments without succes, Lice R Gone® should be left on for 30 minutes to soften the nit glue that may have been hardened by the chemicals.
  3. Use Safe Solutions Tangles R Gone® hair conditioner to help remove stubborn nits with a nit comb.
  4. For persitent lice cases, wash each family member’s hair once a week for 3 weeks with Lice R Gone®.
  5. Heat kills lice – cover the hair with a shower cap and heat with a hair dryer, or visit a sauna.
  6. Salt water will also kill lice, but will not remove nits. Soak hair in salt water or swim in the ocean.

If you are still seeing lice, read the entire Chapter 16 – there is still more to learn about nontoxic lice control.


Thank you for reading and practicing ways to keep children/people, pets and the environment a safer place to live.  Have a “Pest Free” Day!  



Steve Tvedten
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