Bed Bugs, Ticks, and Head Lice
What are head lice?
- Parasitic insects that live on the human head
- Also known as Pediculus humanus capitis (peh-DICK-you-lus Hue-man-us CAP-ih-tus)
Who is at risk for getting head lice?
- Anyone who comes in contact with contaminated clothing, materials, or an individual who has head lice (ie: hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, combs, brushes, beds, carpets, stuffed animals)
- Preschool and elementary children ages 3-10 are most likely to get head lice
- Females are more likely to get lice than males
What do head lice look like?
- Nit: Tiny white or yellow oval-shaped head lice eggs that are found attached to the hair shaft
- Nymph: Baby lice are smaller than a sesame seed, and feed on human blood
- Adult: Full-grown lice, about the size of a sesame seed, feed on human blood, and can live up to 30 days
Where are head lice most commonly found?
- On the scalp
- Behind the ears
- Near the neckline
- Attached to hair
What are the signs and symptoms of head lice infestation?
- Tickling feeling in hair
- Itching, caused by bites
- Sores on the head from scratching
How is head lice infestation confirmed?
- Closely look through the scalp and hair looking for nits (lice eggs), nymphs (babies), and adult lice
- Finding nymphs (babies) and adult lice may be difficult because they move quickly. If you are unsure of the presence of head lice, check with your health care provider, or nurse.
For more information on head lice visit:
Head Lice Factsheet
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Head Lice Website
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are spider-like creatures that can range in size from a grain of sand to an apple seed. They live in moist, shaded woods, low-growing brush, dense weeds/grasses, or piles of leaves or wood. Ticks can be found throughout the spring, summer and even into the fall. They are most active in June & July.
Ticks do not jump or fly. They are picked up by humans and animals by just brushing against a leaf or blade of grass where they are sitting. They look for a place to attach, like the backs of knees, armpits, hair or behind the ears. A tick bite is painless and can go unnoticed. Ticks can spread disease such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
- Stay out of weedy, tick-infested areas. Walk in the center of trails to avoid contact.
- Wear light-colored clothing. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, a hat and shoes or boots. Tuck pants into socks or boots.
- Use chemical repellent with DEET or Permethrin. Follow the directions on the label. Children should not put repellents on themselves. Wash clothing that has been sprayed with repellent after use.
- Check your entire body for ticks after being outdoors. Check children at least twice a day, especially the head and neck. Look for a freckle that moves. Ticks can be very small.
- Check clothing for crawling ticks. Putting clothes into a dryer on high heat will kill ticks.
- Keep dogs tied or penned in a mowed area. They can carry ticks into the home or yard. Check them daily.
For more information on ticks visit
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Ticks Website
Bed bugs are parasites that feed on humans. If people aren’t available, they instead will feed on other warm-blooded animals, including birds, rodents, bats, and pets. In the past decade, bed bugs have begun making a comeback across the United States. Bed bugs are most frequently found in homes with a high rate of occupant turnover, such as hotels, hostels, dorms, shelters, and apartment complexes.
Bed Bug Prevention:
Do not bring infested items into your home. It is important to carefully inspect clothing and baggage, especially after traveling. Also, inspect beds, bedding, and furniture. Sanitation measures include frequently vacuuming the mattress and bed room floors and washing bedding frequently.
For more information on bed bugs visit:
Ohio State University Extension Bed Bugs Factsheet
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Bed Bugs Website
Bed bugs stages photo source: BC Bed Bug Expert