| Lice are generally small, adults being 1/16 to 3/16 inch in body size. There are many varieties, some affect man, some are prevalent among birds and/or animals.
Bird and Animal Lice
The bird louse is fairly small, about 3/32nd of an inch long. It chews on the barbules of bird feathers. Eggs are laid on the underside of wings, but bird lice apparently do little harm to the birds that carry them. The Chicken Head Louse and the Large Turkey Louse can cause problems for poultry, however. Animal lice are a "sucking" louse, and just about any lice found on animals can also host upon humans. They are a true parasite, and can cause harm to their host by transmitting diseases. Animal lice are generally a little larger, about 1/16 to 3/16ths of an inch in length.
Human lice are not as common as in the past, but outbreaks occur especially among elementary school children. It is a sucking louse, and as the name implies is only found on people. The bite causes irritation, and it has spread Typhus in the past. The adults are small, 1/16 to 3/16 inch in body size. The eggs are attached to hair, and are referred to as "nits". Drug stores carry the medicine and combs for eliminating the infestation. You must follow the directions carefully to completely eliminate the infestation.
Pubic Lice ("crabs")
These lice are small, only about 1/16th inch, and with a body shaped like a crab, with tiny claws. It usually lives in the pubic region among the hairs, and is frequently transmitted by sexual contact. Infestation brings localized itching and irritation, but pubic lice do not transmit diseases.
For most lice, about 5-12 eggs are produced each day until 100-200 are laid, and they hatch in around a week to 10 days. They hatch into nymphs, which go through three instars over the next 1-4 weeks, all looking for their blood meal. Adults only live for 3-4 weeks. Pubic lice are slower to develop.