Monday, March 28, 2011

Out of the Pot and into the Frying Pan

Unfreakin' believable! You would think that with the mites on the hens, the lice on the goats, and the staph infection on one chicken's foot, nothing more could go wrong on the homestead. Ha! That's just not the way our luck is rolling these days. To complete this den of infestation, Ute and I got lice. However, not from the goats. Like many parasites, lice are commonly host specific.

Last week, Ute brought home from school a letter informing us that someone in her class reported to have Pediculus humanus capitis. I checked her over several times during the week - not thoroughly mind you, just a look see for anything squirming about in there and nada. Zip. Zilch.Then on Friday, after our dear house guests from Redlands departed from their week of Itty Bitty farm camp (more on the visit later), I found a load of the nasty buggers in various stages of development roaming around Ute's scalp. Having never had lice before, I was aghast at their relatively large size compared to goat lice and almost transparent coloring. If they hadn't been moving, I would have never noticed them amongst our blond hairs.

Ugh! For the last three days, I have done nothing but vacuum, bag clothing and anything else that has touched a head (if left for two weeks, any louse or nit left will die from starvation as the babies need a blood meal within 24 hours of hatching and the adults can't go longer than two days sans sangre), and obsessively comb hair. We are trying to stay away from the nasty poisonous stuff as I am sensitive to chemicals and I would rather not expose my daughter to it either. We've gone with a head dressing consisting of massive amounts of olive oil, therefore suffocating the little bastards, and LOTS of combing and inspecting for nits to stop the cycle. I believe on the day of discovery, I spent somewhere near nine hours dealing with the eradication and preventative measures. Poor Ute was passed out cold for the final comb through.

The olive oil did kill the live lice, leaving only two barely breathing ones that I murdered with my razor sharp finger nails. We are now on a daily regimen of inspecting and combing for the next seven days as that is how long it should take for any remaining nits to hatch. We are being very thorough in our daily combing rituals, taking at least an hour or more to inspect each strand of hair. We are also leaving our hair really oily so that no freeloaders can cling on (worked for the husband - with all of his hair goop that he uses he has avoided infestation) and rubbing in tea tree, rosemary, peppermint, and lavender oils since lice reportedly don't like pungent smells. With all of these measures,  we should be good. Good lord, I hope so! All this bugginess is really beginning to bug me. Really.

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  1. I hate to tell you, but the latest research on head lice is that they do not live off the host. If you did find one off your head it would have been a very weak one on its last legs! They do not fly or hop or jump...just walk from one head to another when heads are touching. This is why family members catch them from one another and little children are also likely to have their heads close together. Washing pillow cases is probably worthwhile but all the vacuuming and washing of linen is just a waste of time. You sound like you are doing a wonderful job on the lice in your's and Ute's hair. Unless you use the chemicals, manual removal is the very best. I love the idea of drowning them in olive oil too...and all of the other oils. You will have the very best hair in the street and smell wonderful too. they found head lice on the Egyption mummies...As long as there are heads and scalps, we will have lice. Have fun!

  2. Thanks Hazel. I DO have awesome hair right now. Just gave it a wash in prep for a film crew showing up tomorrow and it is soooo soft and fluffy (in a good way).

    I did know that all the washing is probably unnecessary, but my hubby worries about these things so I went on the side of safety. It's a good excuse to start my spring cleaning :) I have spent the majority of my time in combing and nit hunting.

  3. What an infestation you have had! Must be all that warm California weather. A bug not dare show his head around here - it would just get snowed on.

  4. Its too much! My own farm bug issues made me dream I had nail lice (no such thing) from petting so many animals. Ugh!

  5. What a bummer! We had a lice scare when a friend with kids visited. Seems pretty common, unfortunately. I was busy washing everything like crazy too afterwards. Somehow it made me feel better. I hope your bug ordeals end soon.

  6. Ugh, sorry you and your daughter had to deal with this. How awful!