What do nits look like?
Sometimes people mistake the name “nits” for head lice. This can cause confusion as nits are the empty egg casts from the hatched head louse nymph. The head louse is the actual creature that has been breeding and causing the infestation. In reality, to say “You child has nits.” usually means “Your child has head lice.” The nits left by the nymphs may, however, be the first obvious visual cue that head lice are present on a scalp.
So, what do nits look like?
Nits look like a fine dusting of white sugar grains across the hairs ….usually found on the hairs behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. This is because these areas of the scalp form the warmest place to successfully breed. The closer to the scalp the nit is, the more recent it is. Nits a long way down the hair shaft are just a sign that head lice bred there a long time ago. They may nolonger be present if treated.
What does a head louse look like?
A head louse looks like the little critter you can see in the banner image….although the colour has been changed there for aesthetic reasons, the image of the louse is accurate.
A head louse can vary in colour from almost translucent beige to nearly black as they have the ability to adapt their colour to their host’s hair colour so as to avoid detection. An adult head louse can grow up to 3mm long and will be easily identified from the above picture once removed from the scalp. A nymph is smaller than a pin head and often very dark in colour. Their smallness means that a very fine nit comb is needed to remove them.