Expert on
portal about pests and methods of dealing with them

What do linen lice look like?

6 minutes. for reading

Lice are well-known parasites that feed exclusively on human blood. Transmission of this insect is only possible between people, since lice do not live on animals. Linen lice, also known as body lice, are a type of human lice. They differ little from the species that live in hair.

Linen lice: danger to humans

What threats do linen lice pose? Firstly, the bites of these insects cause significant discomfort, manifested in skin irritation and constant itching. Constantly scratching bites can damage the skin and open wounds that can become infected and take a long time to heal. This, in turn, can lead to the development of skin diseases, and in rare cases, sepsis. In addition, some people may have allergic reactions to substances injected into the louse's blood to prevent clotting.

However, discomfort from bites is not the only problem. Like other blood-sucking parasites, linen lice can transmit serious infections. Moving from one host to another, the mouthparts of linen lice can carry pathogens of dangerous diseases such as typhoid fever. Linen lice bites can spread infections, including typhus, through the introduction of infected blood.

What do linen lice look like?

Linen lice are visually difficult to distinguish from other types of insects. They are small insects up to three and a half millimeters in size, rarely reaching a length of 5 mm. The body of the linen louse has a flattened oblong shape and a light brown color. Individuals saturated with blood change their color and increase in size.

The mouthparts of linen lice include sharp stylets that are used to pierce the skin, as well as a proboscis for sucking blood. Through this proboscis, lice inject a substance that prevents human blood from clotting.

In its structure, this parasite differs from other species, primarily in the shape of its paws. All lice have six legs, but the legs of linen lice are less tenacious due to their specific habitat: they do not need to move along the hair.

The eggs that linen lice lay are similar to those of head lice. These are small balls ranging in size from one to one and a half millimeters. Females often lay a significant number of eggs, and clustering them in one place makes the clutch easier to detect.

On favorable conditions for the spread of linen lice

Lice have an average lifespan of 30 to 40 days and require an accessible food source to thrive and reproduce, neglecting other environmental factors. However, ambient temperature has a significant impact on the lifespan of these parasites.

The most favorable temperature for lice to live and reproduce is about 30 degrees. At a temperature of 20 degrees they stop reproducing, and cooling can lead to suspended animation, after which the insects die. Parasites cannot tolerate temperatures above forty degrees.

Lice survive in water and can stay there for long periods of time. However, dry air turns out to be much more dangerous for these parasites.

Stages of development of linen lice

These parasites have a short life cycle, but they can cause significant harm to the human body. The development process of this insect includes the following stages:

  1. An egg from which emerges a larva, also known as a nit. The nit stage lasts up to eight days.
  2. The larva, or nymph, takes an average duration of 2,5 to three weeks.
  3. An adult, or imago.

The female lays up to four eggs a day, and she can lay more than a hundred nits in her lifetime. Bed lice reproduce quickly, so control of them should begin immediately after detection.

The most fertile individuals can leave up to 300 nits in their lifetime. Typically, nymphs and adults are bitten.

Where can you find insects?

Lice spend a significant part of their life outside the human body, preferring shelter in clothing, linen and textile materials, where they also lay eggs.

Body lice habitats include:

  1. Bed linen and bedding (pillows, blankets, mattresses);
  2. Sofas and armchairs (any upholstered furniture);
  3. Personal items (towels and napkins);
  4. Clothing (from outerwear to underwear);
  5. Home textiles (carpets, curtains, rugs, bedspreads, etc.).

In general, insects are attracted to any soft objects and cozy places. Linen lice can also hide in the backs of wardrobes, bookshelves, under pictures or behind wallpaper.

Despite the many shelters that parasites love, they cannot survive without constant access to food. The food source for linen lice is humans. For regular feeding, they must constantly be close to people.

A linen louse can live without food for up to two days, but its normal lifestyle includes feeding at least every four hours. Therefore, it is on bedding that these parasites are often found, gaining quick access to human blood.

How does bed lice become infected?

The only way to become infected with linen lice is through contact with an infested person and their objects. Even if you do not use an infested bed or wear clothes that are sick, insects are likely to migrate to a new habitat. A short stay in conditions of insufficient hygiene is enough.

Prevention of lice infestation

The main cause of lice infection is unsanitary living conditions. Lice are most common in asocial environments, where neglect of personal hygiene and care of things leads to a surge in the population of these insects. Head lice infestations are not limited to the homeless or prison inmates; they also occur on trains, hotels, and especially in child care facilities.

At the slightest suspicion of infestation with linen lice, it is necessary to immediately take preventive measures using special preparations. Wash items at a temperature of at least 40 degrees, treat all surfaces with pediculicides, and wash your body and hair with special products. Remember: preventing a disease is easier than treating it.

How to remove linen lice

If bed parasites are detected, immediately apply a set of measures to prevent a full-scale infection. Effectiveness depends not only on eliminating visible insects, but also on killing their eggs. Disinfection procedures should cover all items belonging to the infected person, even if parasites are found on only one family member.

What can be processed:

  1. Items of the infected person's clothing: The ideal option is temperature disinsection, using washing at a temperature of at least 40 degrees. It is better to pre-soak the clothes in a special solution, then dry them well in the sun or in the cold, and then iron them on both sides.
  2. Temperature exposure method: Place textiles and bedding in direct sunlight or frost to kill parasites and their eggs.
  3. Furniture processing: Use a steam generator or contact a pest control service that can use steam to effectively treat your furniture.
  4. Exposure to pediculicides: Use modern medications that are effective against lice and their eggs. Many of them are safe to use on children's clothing.
  5. Treating surfaces with insecticides: Wash surfaces in contaminated areas with insecticides.
  6. Treatment of infected people: Thoroughly rinse the body, scalp, and hair of infected individuals and their loved ones, using pediculicides and fine-tooth combs.

Pay attention to the length of the nit development period. After one or two weeks, re-inspect the room and things to identify new individuals, since lice are able to survive in a state of suspended animation.

What Lice And Their Eggs Look Like


How to determine the presence of linen lice?

Linen lice are parasites that live on the human body, mainly in hairy areas. Head and pubic lice differ in their preferred habitats. Body lice can infest bedding, clothing, folds of textiles and upholstery. The first signs of infection are most often painful bites.

What repels lice?

Home control methods include the use of strongly scented essential oils and other remedies such as kerosene. There are also modern anti-parasite medications available in pharmacies. Low temperature, such as frost, is also an effective deterrent.

Where do lice live?

The main habitat of lice is the human body and head. To prevent lice infection, you need to follow simple hygiene rules, such as avoiding using other people's combs and towels, washing clothes after visiting crowded places and checking children's heads after staying at summer camps.

How to distinguish body lice from head lice?

Body lice that live on the body are visually little different from head lice. Head lice have a shorter body and a grayish tint that changes to reddish after feeding on blood. If both adult individuals and nits are detected, it is necessary to carry out a full insecticidal effect on both things and furniture, as well as on the human body and hair.

BedbugsHow to remove bedbugs at home in 8 hours
The next
Types of CockroachesAre Prussians afraid of cats?

Without Cockroaches