How do I check for head lice and nits?

  • Apply plenty of hair conditioner to dry hair and comb through with a wide tooth comb to detangle the hair.
  • Comb through again in sections with a quality fine tooth comb.
  • Wipe the combings onto white paper towel and examine in strong light, e.g. sunlight, to look for head lice and eggs.  Use a magnifying glass if you have one.

What am I looking for?

Head lice are small, wingless insects that live exclusively on the human scalp.  They feed on human blood from the scalp and lay their eggs on the hair, attaching each egg (nit) with a substance that cements it to the hair shaft.

Magnified picture of head lice in petri dish

Image courtesy of and copyright Eric Fotherby 2000.

What if I find head lice?

  • Conduct head checks on all household members using the hair conditioner method.
  • Choose a treatment method and follow the instructions carefully.
  • When your chosen treatment method is completed, continue regular head checks so you can act quickly to combat any new infestation.  Weekly head checks are recommended.

Watch a head louse hatching!

Super magnified, time lapse video.