Back to School Nightmare: Chemical Resistant Lice

With school finally back in session, the fear of your child coming home with a head full of lice is back and worse than ever. Chemical resistant lice have recently been found in at least 30 states. These drug-resistant insects are fighting back, so make sure you stay up-to-date with the new ways to fight these unwanted guests.

What are Chemical Resistant Lice?

The main chemical used to treat head lice is called Permethrin, and it’s part of the pyrethroid class of insecticides. It has long been used in over-the-counter lice treatments. However, with the continued exposure to the chemical, research has found that 104 out of 109 lice samples collected have high levels of gene mutation. This gene mutation essentially means that these lice are immune to most over-the-counter (OTC) lice formulas.

6 to 12 million children are infested with head lice each year in the U.S. alone. These infestations occur in neighborhoods of all income levels, and since the early ‘90s, Permethrin products have been a simple treatment option. “If you use a chemical over and over, these little creatures will eventually develop resistance,” explains study author Kyong Yoon. This doesn’t mean that these treatments cannot kill the lice, you just have to use a higher dose or a prescription-based product if the basic treatment doesn’t work.

How to Treat it?

Although lice can be quite the nuisance, the good news is they do not carry any diseases. Head lice can’t jump or fly, and are only transmitted by direct contact, making them very common among school-aged children.

Research shows that prescription treatments that don’t contain permethrin, although pricier, continue to remain effective against lice.

Products containing the following agents have been proven to kill chemical resistant lice:

  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Ivermectin
  • Malathion
  • Spinosad
  • Lindane shampoo

Although lice are very common, they can become a major problem if left untreated, or if you don’t treat them properly. Avoid trying to treat lice infestations on your own as you will likely make the situation worse rather than better, which will require more time and money.

In Home Lice Removal

After 9/11 many powerful pesticides were taken off the market because the government feared their use by terrorists. Pest control experts do, however, still have access to these treatments.

“That meant that lice and other things like bedbugs were constantly exposed to what we had left: permethrin. So they became resistant,” said Philip Tierno, professor of microbiology and pathology at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City.

Lice infestations in your house can be easily taken care of by washing bedding, cushions, pillows, etc. in high temperatures. If you are still finding lice in your home after a thorough cleaning, you may want to contact a pest control expert that can assist in your home lice removal.

Bringing in the Experts

For more information on treating lice in your home, contact a licensed, professional pest removal technician today. At Clean Crawls, we have the experience to help with your most difficult pest problem. Contact us today, we are available to send over a representative to evaluate the problem and offer a solution right away. Give us a call at 866-518-8122 or fill out our form for a free quote today.