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How Long Do Lice Live?

This is a top 5 question I receive at PicNit Professional Lice Clinic. And one I love to answer! And you know what? My answer changed this year.

Most people are completely grossed out by them, but I certainly am fascinated by the science behind them. I'm "lucky" enough to receive requests a few times a year from college students needing bug specimens for projects. Each year I use this request to remove lice from their comfy homes and monitor them off of a person while they are waiting to be picked up, safely in a jar of course. I have front row seats to see just how long these little guys last without us and don't have to rely on second hand information for lice facts. Since 2016 I've been doing this for college students, even outside of Nebraska! This Fall, my answer for "how long do lice live" when off of a person increased. It is now my personal recommendation to clean and launder items exposed to that individual in the last 72 hours. Out of 21 bugs monitored, one of them finally lost it's will at 64 hours. 72 hours is the new number.

Never stop learning!


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