One of the first indications of head lice is itching caused by an allergic reaction to the bites, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. Red bite marks or scratch marks are often seen on the back of the neck caused by scratching.


Signs of head lice include a tickling feeling of something moving in the hair. Irritability and lack of concentration. Head lice droppings - these show as black specs on pillow cases or collars.

Size & Colour

They are the size of a sesame seed. Nits are the eggs and are yellowish white in colour. The eggs are sometimes mistaken for dandruff. Head lice can be anything from greyish white to white in colour.


Nits are found on the hair shaft generally at the nape of the neck. Adult head lice may be found anywhere on the head.


It takes several weeks exposure to the head lice before itching develops.

Other reasons

There are a number of other reasons for itching and scratching, of which dry air alone can be a culprit, and so ideally, the head lice need to be identified.

How did I get head lice?

Most cases of head lice are transmitted by close head to head contact and through sharing items such as ribbons, hats and hair brushes.

“Creepy” fact

Head lice, also known as Pediculus humanus capitis, do not hop, jump or fly – they crawl.