Nits are lice eggs, packed in a special sheath of sticky and air-freezing substance. Each nit contains one egg and is located on a separate human hair.
Due to the secretions secreted by the lice, it sticks firmly to the hair, and after a few minutes it is so securely attached that it cannot be removed even with the nails. The photo below shows this close-up of a nit fixed on the hair:
On a note
Nits in the hair are noticeable more lice for the reason that because of its light color often come across the eyes than the parasites themselves. With abundant infection of the head with lice, the number of nits is so great that the hair is infected, even when washed, it looks like it is sprinkled with croup.
At the same time, adult lice and mobile larvae spend most of their time on the scalp and do not catch the eye.Therefore, in everyday life they often say not even about infection with lice, but about infection with nits, which is incorrect.
Just the nits eggs in the scientific community are not called due to the fact that a substantial part of the nits is precisely its shell, which is not involved in the development of the larva and does not provide it with food. Most correctly identify nits as a stage of development of the parasite.
Appearance of nits
With the naked eye, a nit looks just like a white dot in a person's hair. Below in the photo nits are presented in large quantities, and at the first impression they resemble simple dandruff:
When examined under a microscope, nits look like small elongated capsules attached to hairs. In this case, pubic lice nits look somewhat different: they are shorter and more rounded.
Below is a photo of nits under the microscope:
The size of the nits is quite small. In head and body lice, they have a length of about 0.7-0.8 mm and a diameter of about 0.4 mm. Nits of pubic lice are even smaller, and reach a length of 0.6 mm.
Each nit looks like a small rounded spindle-shaped capsule. In the lower half, it has a small formation formed by the same substance that makes up the shell and looks like a wide belt that tightly wraps the hair.In the upper part there is a flat cap, which the larva pushes out when hatching.
It is interesting
According to the shape of the lid of the nits and the way it looks after the release of the larva from the egg, the entomologist can tell what kind of lice a particular nit belongs to.
In the photo below - a nit at the time of louse hatching:
With the naked eye it is very difficult to examine the lid of the nits, and it is impossible to say that there is a developing larva inside the capsule, or it has already hatched. And developing, and empty nits look almost the same.
With a sufficiently long infection with lice and no treatment, a person’s hair accumulates a large number of empty nits shells. Because of this, it may appear that the nits in the hair are much more numerous than the lice themselves. Dry nits at the same time keep on the hair as long as the hair itself keeps, and disappear from the head only with hair loss.
It is interesting
Reliable attachment of nits to the hair is the key to their survival. Therefore, the secret that makes up the egg shell is very durable and resistant to different environmental conditions.Vinegar, cranberry juice, some natural and synthetic acids can reduce its strength (some methods of removing nits from hair are discussed below).
Nits always have a light, almost white color. It helps to see them well on dark hair.
In body lice nits are placed in the folds of clothing, between the seams, in the pockets, and also firmly stick to the fabric. Finding them here is much more difficult than on the hair.
Below the photo shows the lice eggs on clothes:
Each female louse almost immediately after the last molt and the acquisition of maturity mates with the male and after a hearty meal begins to lay eggs.
The female lays an average of 5 to 10 eggs per day. When this insect clings to the hair and begins to creep up. In the oviduct at this time, the egg descends to the anus and passes by the glands that secrete a sticky secret, enveloping them.
Immediately after leaving the oviduct, the egg comes into contact with the hair, and the secret envelops the hair itself. Part of the secret flows from the top of the nits, where the cap is formed. Within a few minutes, the sticky substance hardens, and the nits are firmly stuck to the hair.
Below are some photos of nits on the hair at high magnification:
In lice everything happens usually somewhat simpler: the egg just falls on the surface of the fabric and sticks to it.
Nits develop from 5 to 8 days, depending on temperature. The optimum temperature for incubating eggs is 33 ° C. At temperatures below 22 ° C and above 40 ° C, their development stops. At temperatures up to 0 ° C, eggs remain viable for several months, and when the temperature rises to 45 ° C, they die.
In the photo below you can see what the nits look like on a man's eyelashes:
In lice development eggs can be delayed up to six months, if a person often takes off the clothes on which they were set aside and they cool down for a long time. (all this time, clothing remains potentially dangerous, as a source of possible infection with laundry lice). With the constant wearing of infected clothing nits on it develop in the same time as that of the head lice.
The larva itself cannot immediately get out of the egg, since it sits very tightly in it. She just pushes the cap out and starts breathing. Part of the air enters her lungs, some she swallows and passes through the digestive tract, releasing through the anus. As a result, in the lower part of the capsule, the pressure rises, which also pushes the larva out of the egg.The whole process usually lasts only a few minutes, after which the insect leaves the envelope.
In the photo below you can see what the nits look like immediately after the release of the larva:
Where to look for nits?
Nits are not located along the entire length of the hair. As a rule, the female sticks an egg at a distance of 2-3 centimeters from the root.
Females rarely lay eggs on the hairs, which already have a nit. This can occur only with a very large number of lice on the head.
My four-year-old daughter suddenly began to scratch her head, I even thought it was an allergy, but I could not understand what it was. And scabies did not subside. My baby constantly scratched her head, almost the whole evening until she fell asleep.
In the kindergarten, I went to the nurse, but she laughed and said that all the children regularly watch every day, in groups of heat, so the kids have heads and sweat. But still she said she would look at my daughter. And after about 30 minutes they called me, told rather to take her daughter with the words "She has a full head of nits!" It sounded quite ominous. Moreover, up to this point I met nits only among people, and not among insects.
But it turned out that nits are louse eggs.
It is more difficult to find nits in thick, curly and light hair than in dark and straight ones. As a rule, to search for nits, it is advisable to use special combs for lice. They allow after combing a few strands of hair comb out and some nits.
Nits can be found on almost all parts of the human body. Head louse leaves them on the head, pubic - on the pubis and groin. Much less often the pubic louse breeds in the armpits, and only in exceptional cases - on the eyebrows, eyelashes and beard.
Just from a distance, it is difficult to notice nits in a person’s hair. They are thrown into the eyes only with a strong infection and a large number of them on the head, and usually this picture is complemented by the impression of the general negligence of the hairstyle and hair.
In the photo you can see how the nits look on the hair with a large number of lice:
Nits of lice should be sought in the seams on the clothes. However, getting them out is hopeless. Yes, and find them here is very difficult. It is much easier to find adult insects that bite the body on the sides and back — these are definitely not pubic and head lice.
Are nits passed from person to person?
Nits on the hair do not know how to move and therefore are not transmitted between people. Only in exceptional cases at close contacts can they fall with lost hair on the head of a healthy person.
Sometimes nits are passed a healthy person on hairbrushes, stealth hairpieces and hair bands (they fall on these items with loose hair).
Even knowing well what the nits look like, it is very difficult to see them on a comb, so for reliable protection against them it is better not to use other people's hair care products at all.
Is it hard to fight nits?
Nits are significantly more resistant to various external factors than larvae or adult lice. Most pediculicides do not allow killing them, and only a limited number of ovicidal agents (usually based on organophosphate insecticides) can destroy eggs.
- It is known that vinegar and cranberry juice contribute to softening, and in high concentrations - even the destruction of the shell of nits. However, at the same time they are capable of causing scalp burns, and therefore today for such purposes are usually no longer used.
- Sufficiently reliably nits are destroyed by treating the hair in small portions of vinegar in strong dilutions and further combing them with lice combs. However, due to the small size of the complete removal of nits will not occur.
- The most effective extermination of lice themselves, as sources of nits. After their removal, only surviving nits remain special shampoos or creams on the head. After 5-7 days from all nits, the larvae hatch, which they kill by repeated treatment with the same means.
- Sometimes it is much easier, more efficient and faster to get rid of nits, simply shaving off the infected hair.
- Nits of lice destroyed easily enough. Infected things for this should be boiled in boiling water for more than 5-10 minutes and dry. After that, the eggs will remain in the seams of the clothes, but they will be lost and will not pose any danger. After several washes, they will all be washed.
The main thing that you need to remember when you find nits on the hair or clothing - they are only the result of reproduction lice. Therefore, the struggle should be aimed at the destruction of lice in the first place, and with them the nits will disappear.
Rare shots: the birth of lice from nits
Interesting video: how to get rid of lice