Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Head lice


We have been fighting headlice for months. We have tried every over the counter medicine, perscriptions from the doctor, and even clear lice, which we ordered online for $300. I don't know what else to try. I have adults all the way to a 2 year old. Is there anything safe to try that will kill these things.  We live in San Marcos, Texas.

Howdy Tracy!

Sorry to hear that head lice are giving you problems.

The first rule to consider when dealing with head lice is that they are transmitted from person to person via contact with infested materials...bedding, upholstery, clothing, car seats, or other infested people.

With this in mind, a thorough eradication program must include all of these potential areas.  If you remove the lice from a person, they may still be present in the living areas and can get right back onto a treated person.  The lice treatments don't leave much of a residual behind on the human.  Lice can survive off of the host for a few days, but not longer than a week or so.

Clothing and bedding must be washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer.  Consider using an indoor flea spray on upholstery and furniture.  Vacuum rugs and carpets very thoroughly.

Sometimes, especially with children (boys especially), a short haircut helps to remove nits and makes it easier to comb out the remaining nits and adults while allowing the treatment to reach the scalp where the adults and nymphs are living.

Lice are tricky and can take some real perseverance to rid yourselves of their presence.

Best of luck on this one!!

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Nathan Riggs


I currently live in San Antonio, TX and have expertise in identifying insects, many types of spiders, and other arthropod critters that infest lawns, ornamentals, structures, trees, pets and livestock. Mites are not a strong point of mine. I'm not a licensed doctor, so I cannot provide medical diagnosis of conditions possibly related to insects or other arthropods. If you've got an interesting photo for me to see, attach it to your question, or let me know and I'll give you my email so the picture will get to me. If you have hosted an insect photo on a website, please include the link so I can go look at it and provide a faster ID for you. You may also join my group page on Facebook and post your picture at www.facebook.com/groups/antmans.hill/.


22+ years' experience as an entomologist: 5 years as a biologist with Merck Animal Health (I was part of the R&D team that worked to develop FrontLine flea and tick products) and 7 years as an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist in San Antonio, Texas with Texas Cooperative Extension.

Veterinary Parasitology, Southwestern Entomologist, San Antonio Express News, San Antonio Gardener Newsletter, Master Gardener SCION Newsletter, GardenStyleSA e-Newsletter

BS - Entomology from Texas A&M University in 1992.

Board Certified Entomologist, 1996-2000 - Medical and Veterinary Entomology Specialty (Entomological Society of America)

Awards and Honors
2000 Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor's Award in Excellence for leadership on the Texas Fire Ant Program Educational Team.

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