What are Super Lice?

Head lice holding on to hair magnified

If you’re wondering what super lice are you’re probably also wondering what the difference is between “normal” lice and their counterpart super lice. Are super lice super-sized versions of your run-of-the-mill head lice? Are super lice an all together different breed of lice? Most importantly, can super lice be defeated?

Since its inception in 2009, Lice Happens, a professional head lice treatment company headquartered in Maryland, USA, noticed that live lice often remained in the hair of clients they were about to treat even after the client had used pesticidal over-the-counter (OTC) and/or prescription head lice treatment products formulated to kill the bugs. Removing live bugs that were unaffected by the active ingredients in the OTC and prescription products became the norm. What experience had shown has since been supported by published research on pesticide-resistant head lice.

Super lice are not super-sized lice nor are they a different breed of lice that popped up out of nowhere. So, just what makes super lice super? Much like antibiotic-resistant bacteria, super lice are the offspring of generations of head lice that, with overexposure over time to the active ingredients in many pesticidal head lice treatments, naturally developed a resistance to the chemicals. Super lice are indistinquishable other than they’re the ones still kicking after treatment.

Parents expecting pesticidal head lice treatment products to kill pesticide-resistant head lice (i.e. super lice) the first time are increasingly being left with an ongoing infestation to deal with and confusion about what to do next. The good news is that pesticides are not necessary to defeat normal lice or super lice. Since head lice are not able to survive off of the human head, the trick is to kill by removal. Manual removal doesn’t require knowing which lice are super and which are not. A louse off the hair and head is doomed. Thorough manual combing is a safe, effective and efficient treatment approach, especially when a trained and certified Lice Treatment Specialist stands in for the parent. “Lice Happens service does just that and empowers parents with education and hands-on training to prevent future infestations of head lice-super or not” states Lice Happens co-founder Nancy Fields.