head louse egg on hair

Dead head louse egg. Gilles San Martin

If you want to kill lice, it is essential that you also remove all their eggs, also called nits. Before you learn how to get rid of nits, the first thing you’ll want to know is: what do head lice eggs look like?.

Head lice eggs are like tiny white to yellowish dots on your hair. They can easily be taken for dandruff, or even hair spray droplets. They measure 0.8 millimeter length and 0.3 millimeter wide.

What color are head lice eggs?

Lice eggs have a grey or caramel color when laid, and they turn yellow to white when they are empty. They can be very difficult to see. After hatching, the shell of the nit can stay in the hair for several months and it will be whitish. Empty nits can be easily confused with dandruff.

Where can you find head lice eggs?

They are usually located behind the ears and in the neck area, as these are the areas where female lice prefer laying their eggs, because incubation is easier due to the higher temperature and the humidity.

Also, lice eggs will be located within one centimeter from the scalp, even less (usually within 0.6 centimeter). If you find head lice eggs further from the scalp, they will either be dead or anyway not viable, so you should not bother removing them first as they will never hatch. What you should do first is removing live nits that are close to the scalp; as said, less than one centimeter from the scalp.

Head lice eggs pictures

(remember their real size is less than one millimeter):

head lice egg

Live head louse egg ('nit') with a nymph starting to hatch out. Center For Disease Control



empty head lice egg

Empty shell of an head louse egg. The nymph has left. Center For Disease Control



Dead head louse egg

Dead head louse egg (picture taken after treatment).

Gilles San Martin, CC-BY-SA

Frequently Asked Questions – What Do Head Lice Eggs Look Like

  • How long do lice eggs live?

It takes lice eggs about 7 days to hatch. Then, they are no longer called nits (head lice eggs) but become nymphs. But head lice are reproducing very quickly, so as long as you have live adult lice in your hair, you’ll also have live lice eggs.

  • Does Rid kill lice eggs?

If you use a RID lice treatment, you must know that the brand name Rid has several products against head lice. If you are only using the Lice Killing Shampoo, then it is very unlikely that this will also kill lice eggs. If you want to kill head lice and eggs, you’ll also need to apply the Rid Lice & Egg Comb-Out Gel. You’ll find more information on their website: www.ridlice.com.

  • Can you kill lice eggs?

Yes you can. There are several methods to do this. You might want to use a commercial product, or you might prefer a natural product. Vinegar for instance will dissolve the shell of lice eggs and it will allow you to remove them easily.