A Guide to Super Lice
What are super lice?
Is it a plane? Is it a train? No. It’s Super Lice! Unfortunately, not coming to save the day. I’m sure you are picturing bugs with little capes, but unfortunately super lice don’t look any different than regular lice. Super lice are head lice that have grown resistant to traditional pesticide-based head lice treatments such as Nix and Rid. In fact, super arise because so many people use products like these. Products like these kill somewhere around 99% of lice, which is great most of the time. But when that 1% survives, they multiply and create more lice that are unaffected by commercial lice pesticides.
In a two-year study conducted by the University of Massachusetts from 2013-2015, 98% of lice collected in 48 states were shown to be resistant to pesticides, thus coining the term “Super Lice.” (In fact, Lice Knowing You participated in this very study – we collected lice from all of our offices and sent them to the U of M for analysis!).
How to Get Rid of Super Lice
The results of the UM study came as no surprise to us. By virtue of being on the ground, performing lice checks and removal every day, our team at Lice Knowing You has known for years that lice are resistant to the pesticide-based treatments sold in pharmacies and available by prescription. Most of our clients have already tried several at-home remedies before they come in to our clinics. As a result, they have often spent hundreds of dollars and many hours trying to get rid of these pesky bugs – all to no avail.
So, how do you get rid of super lice? Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to get rid of head lice other than manual removal. There is no product or device or prescription that can fully eradicate super head lice. So, all lice and nits must be removed in order to guarantee that you are completely done with your head lice problem. Products can help in the process (and of course we recommend non-toxic products that will not harm your child or the environment) but there is no way around old-fashioned manual removal.
How to prevent super lice?
With super lice being such a tricky problem, I’m sure you’re thinking, “how can I avoid getting super lice in the first place?” Our answer, pure and simple, is vigilance. The Lice Knowing You motto is “once a week, sneak a peek.” We tell our clients to check their children’s hair at least once a week to make sure there isn’t a lice colony forming. And, if you’re concerned about your children, it doesn’t hurt to check your own hair as well!
Lice colonies typically begin with 1-3 adult bugs. Female lice lay 4-6 eggs per day, and they can live for 30 days on your head. It takes 7-10 days for the eggs (also called nits) to hatch, and 9-12 additional days for those bugs to mature into adults, capable of laying more eggs. On top of that, there is one male louse for every five female lice. All in all, that means it can take less than three weeks to have three dozen adult lice living in a head of hair. That’s why we recommend weekly lice checks. These bugs may move slow, but they multiply fast.
As you can see, super lice can become a big problem if you let them. But if you do end up getting super lice, never fear. You can try manual removal at home by arming yourself with a great lice comb and non-pesticide lice products to help (make sure to skip the pesticide products!). If you choose at-home treatment, keep in mind that you’ll need to do this process multiple times – at least several times over the course of a week. If you’d prefer a one-time fix, professional removal is the way to go. At Lice Knowing You, we guarantee that you’ll be lice-free in one appointment. But no matter the route you choose, make sure to do your research first. Knowledge is power and enables you to make decisions that are best for your family.