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Details about lice lice, the features of their life and potential danger

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Let's talk about laundry lice, their peculiarities of life and potential danger to humans

Linen louse is popularly called a clothes louse (Pediculus humanus corporis) - a subspecies of the widely known human louse. They identified a separate louse subspecies for the reason that after about 72 thousand years of living together with a person, she adapted to living not on the scalp, which is typical of simple human lice, but on clothes that a person does not part with for almost all his civilized history. At the same time, for such a relatively short period by evolutionary standards, the laundry lice managed to work out in the structure of their body adaptations that make life easier for them just in clothes, and they practically cannot live on a person's head.

In the photo below - linen louses on clothes:

The population of lice on clothes

They call these linen lice because most people live on their underwear — it’s easier and quicker to get to the body as a source of food.

It is interesting

In rare cases, when one person is infected with both head and clothes louses (this happens mainly in vagrants), they practically do not meet or intersect each other on the human body. In the laboratory, with the joint content of these parasites produce fertile offspring, which indicates their biological proximity.

Here are some more photos of lice underwear:

On the photo - close-up louse

Linen louse on clothes

Chitin covers of lice translucent lice, with a sufficient magnification can be considered the inside of an insect

Linen louse is quite whimsical to environmental conditions and is dependent on the lifestyle of a person. Knowing its main features, it is quite possible even without the use of toxic agents. bring out the laundry lice in a fairly short time.


What do the laundry lice look like: photos and videos

Linen lice look the same as the head ones: they are small insects with a body length of about 2-3 mm, without wings, with an abdomen extended in length. A close look at the edges of the abdomen of the louse can make out a small border of peculiar folds - they are formed when the insect's stomach is freed from the previous portion of food and the abdomen shrinks a little, wrinkles.

The photo shows a clothes louse under a microscope:

Linen louse under the microscope

Another photo of a louse under a microscope

Externally, underwear differs from head lice in a lighter color of the abdomen - they are almost white.After saturation due to the presence of blood in the digestive tract, the louse becomes red or brown. Such a drop of blood in the stomach lice can be seen in the photographs.

The photo shows a drop of blood inside the clothes louse.

Full louse

The larvae of the laundry lice look the same as the adult insects, but are somewhat smaller in size.

The photo below shows a whole small colony of lice on clothes:

Adult clothes louse and her larvae

Nits of linen louses practically do not differ from nits of head lice. However, they are found in completely different places - the female lays them between the seams of clothes, in folds, pockets, on the folds, where a person will not reach the eggs. Finding a nit without a magnifying glass or a portable microscope is almost impossible: it is about half a millimeter long, and it can be very difficult to see it.

The photographs below show the louse nits on clothes:

Accumulation of nits of linen louses on clothes

When they accidentally meet on clothing, laundry louses look like small small insects with characteristic powerful legs in front of the body.

On a note

A characteristic feature by which lice can be identified on clothing is their desire to stick in groups. Alone, they can be found on the body, in convenient places for linen, they are usually collected in a few individuals.

Below in the photo you can see how laundry louses look in such a group:

The accumulation of linen louses on clothes is sometimes not so easy to consider.


Where do laundry lice live and what do they eat?

Most of the time laundry lice spend on clothes. Here they rest, mate and lay eggs. Only for feeding, they are moved to the skin of a person. Living in underwear, louses are located almost directly near the body, and therefore such “trips” do not pose any difficulties for them.

The only food for lice is human blood. For sucking, they pierce the skin with stylet-like outgrowths in the mouth and inject enzymes into the wound that reduce blood clotting.

Stiletto-like outgrowths in the mouth lice pierce the skin

Louse under an electron microscope

On a note

It is the enzymes of saliva lice that cause allergic reactions to parasites in some people. And most of those bitten because of these enzymes have bluish spots on the ground bites.

Linen lice can survive in a fairly wide temperature range. Adult lice remain viable at temperatures from 0 ° C to + 45 ° C, and nymphs from + 5 ° C to + 40 ° C. The optimal temperature for breeding lice is 31-32 ° C. If clothing is removed from time to time and it cools down, insects may experience brief delays in physical activity.

Underwear lice like moist air. At low humidity, they die even at temperatures below + 5 ° C and above + 40 ° C.

Adult linen louse lives about 32-46 days. At low temperatures, the life cycle of the parasite is stretched, and the lice shrink.

Each linen louse is fed 4-5 times a day, drinking about half a milligram of blood at a time.

Each louse sucks up not much blood during feeding, but with a large number of parasites and massive bites, such blood loss can be significant.

It is interesting

Lice crawl at a rate of about 15-30 cm per minute. If there is a lot of them on the linen and the person, they can crawl away from him on the bed and furniture.

Underwear lice bites are most often found on the upper hairless part of the body, as well as on the buttocks and thighs. In the groin linen lice rarely bite, and on the head - almost never. Because of this localization, the lice bites are often confused with bedbug bites.

In the photo - bites of linen lice in a person:

Lice bites in the hip area

Most often, lice live on clothes of vagrants and people who do not change their laundry for months. So under the clothes ideal conditions are created for the reproduction of parasites.

At the same time one-time washing of linen does not destroy lice - they can survive in the water for two days. But even with a regular change of underwear, lice can infect a wardrobe and bite a person whenever possible.In this case, they will multiply more slowly, but they will not die either, if a person puts on clothes at least once a few days.

On bedclothes and pillows, lice do not settle. Meeting with them here is a rare coincidence (therefore there are no such parasites as bed lice, but there are bed bugs, small larvae which are sometimes mistakenly confused with lice).


What is the difference between louses and other human parasites?

It is easy to distinguish the laundry lice from other parasites:

  • They differ from fleas in light coloring and inability to jump. In addition, fleas rarely bite under clothes.
  • Lice differ from bugs themselves in significantly smaller sizes and light coloring. In addition, bugs bite a person only at night, while lice pester him all day long while he is dressed.
  • Lice can be distinguished from ticks by light coloration and coloniality - ticks are rarely found in groups. In addition, ticks have 8 legs, while lice have only 6.

The photo shows the bedbug larva

The tick has 8 legs, but there are only 6 underwear lice.

In practice, it can be quite difficult to distinguish from a head louse in practice. But the pubic louse is very different: this parasite has a short and wide abdomen, resembling a microscopic crab as a whole (see photo):

The pubic louse is similar in appearance to a microscopic crab


Diseases that cause laundry lice

Lingerie (or underwear) lice - the most dangerous among all their relatives. Ward pediculosis is characterized by numerous lesions of the trunk, more frequent and acute allergic reactions, a greater incidence of complications in the form of ulcers and pyoderma. This is largely due to the fact that body lice are most often found in vagrants, who do not take any measures to get rid of them and improve their physical condition, strongly start pediculosis and more often infect scratches with infections.

The most common underwear louses are found in strollers on the street.

By themselves, parasite bites cause severe itching and often lead to allergic rashes all over the body. According to separate observations, in children they cause changes in mood and constant irritability.

Lice bites can be accompanied by allergic rashes.

Linen louse most often among other types of lice carries pathogens of typhoid fever and typhus, as well as Volyn fever. It was because of her that soldiers died during both world wars, and it was she who spreads these diseases among the people of Asia and Africa today.


Reproduction underwear lice

The linen louse belongs to insects with incomplete transformation: its larvae are similar to adult individuals and differ only in size andunderdevelopment of the reproductive system. These larvae are called nymphs, they also feed on human blood.

In the photo - nymph linen louse

Female lice live 35-45 days, male - a little less. During her life, the female lays from 100 to 140 eggs, about 3-4 eggs per day (they are called nits). The incubation period of louse eggs with a constant stay near the human body at a temperature of about 32 ° C is about 5 days. If clothes are removed, then during cooling, the development of eggs stops and resumes with the next heating. So egg development can last up to 2 months.

After exiting the egg, the larva sucks blood once, sheds and turns into a nymph of the first age. Its development lasts 5-6 days, after which another molt occurs, the next - after another 8-9 days, and after the third molt the nymph turns into an adult insect.

Adult clothes louse

Under optimal conditions, the insect passes a cycle from egg to egg in 16 days. In two months, the number of parasites on clothes can increase hundreds of times.


How are laundry lice spreading and what needs to be done to prevent them from picking up?

Linen lice are transmitted from person to person in several ways:

  • With bodily contact - hugs, kisses - in clothes.
  • In crowded places - in a crowd, public transport, children's groups, moving from the clothes of one person to the clothes of another.
  • When sharing clothes - the louse can remain on the body and then move to an uninjured T-shirt or shirt.
  • When clothes are stored together, lice are moved from one thing to another. This is dangerous natural second-hand, on which things are not processed.
  • Very rarely - by water. Linen lice can survive in water for up to 2 days and in the pool or in a natural reservoir can move from an infected person to a healthy one.

On natural lingerie markets can come across things that have not passed sanitation

For the prevention of infection with laundry lice, avoid places where deklassed individuals may be present, store clothes carefully, be attentive in public transport. And most importantly - to stay away from people who are clearly not following the rules of hygiene.


An interesting video: a clothes louse under a microscope. You can see how her insides work


Details about lice and nits: how the infection happens and how to protect yourself


Rare shots: the birth of a translucent larva louse from nits

It is also useful to read: Linen lice bites


To the entry "In detail about the laundry lice, the peculiarities of their life and potential danger" 7 comments
  1. Kristina:

    Hello! A week ago, my mother came to visit, sleeping with me and my son. I itched all night, the son for the first time in my life ran off to sleep with my dad. From that day it became difficult to sleep in this bed. The child runs away, I itch not only in bed, but also during the day. There are no bites on the body, no matter how I search, insects are not visible. Just a sharp tingling, like a needle, often in the ribs and on the legs. Everywhere they write that bugs are big, lice too.Maybe these are the larvae yet? Tell me, what kind of species can be and how to fight it?

    • Helena:

      Christine, did you find out the reason for your scabies? I have the same symptoms. Insects are not visible, but I walk with red spots, like a mosquito bite.

    • Anonymous:

      Bed bugs

  2. Victor:

    Scabies, most likely.

  3. Oksana:

    Perhaps the clothes lingerie!

  4. Elizabeth:

    Try to sleep in the light, and how you feel tingling - look.

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